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Wearable Multiplex Biosensors Could Revolutionize COPD Management

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 25 Apr 2024
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Image: The proposed sensor could incorporate wearable electronics for COPD management (Photo courtesy of 123RF)
Image: The proposed sensor could incorporate wearable electronics for COPD management (Photo courtesy of 123RF)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) ranks as the third leading cause of death worldwide. Acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD), which are often triggered by lung infections, accelerate the disease's progression and create significant challenges for both patients and healthcare systems. These exacerbations increase breathlessness, typically occurring several days post-infection, and often require antibiotic treatment or hospitalization. Predicting AECOPD is complex, and to address this, a new research project is focusing on developing wearable multiplex biosensors that can monitor exacerbation risk in COPD patients.

This research is prompted by findings that indicators of infection can be detected in the blood of AECOPD patients before symptoms appear, specifically through inflammatory signaling molecules. Building on their prior work, a collaborative team from The Lundquist Institute (Torrance, CA, USA) has developed a wearable nanoengineered biosensor capable of real-time, non-invasive monitoring of C-reactive protein (CRP) in sweat, which is associated with blood-borne inflammatory responses. Their ongoing research aims to identify molecules in sweat that could predict future AECOPD, paving the way for real-time, on-body monitoring without the need for frequent blood draws.

The ultimate objective of this project is to create a wearable system that can provide early warnings of AECOPD, allowing for earlier intervention in the exacerbation process to potentially reduce patient morbidity and mortality, hospitalization, and overall healthcare utilization. The proposed sensor could revolutionize the management of COPD as well as impact healthcare by integrating wearable electronics into routine care. This could enable a shift towards continuous, non-invasive monitoring for improved health outcomes.

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