A sensor system for in-vivo detection of clinically important substrates

To develop a novel medical sensor assembly for the in-vivo study of clinically important molecules. The sensor system will be developed to a stage where it is ready to become a commercial product.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2003, 29% of all the deaths in the world were caused by cardiovascular disease. In Europe, as much as 55% of all deaths were caused by cardiovascular disease. As the population ages, both the human and economic impact of cardiovascular disease will increase. To decrease this number, the most important action to take is of course to fight the reasons for the high numbers of cardiovascular disease, by combating important risk factors such as tobacco and obesity. Even though we in the future may hope to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, we today have the problem of an epidemic at hands. Thus the second best thing for reducing the incidence of the disease is to have accurate methods for early diagnosis, treatment of cardiovascular disease as well as follow up of the effect of treatment. Heart Failure is a chronic condition in which the heart muscle gets progressively weaker and is unable to pump effectively to meet the body's need for blood and oxygen. Heart failure usually results in an enlarged heart. It often causes shortness of breath, tiredness, and swelling of the legs and feet. Risk factors for this condition include high blood pressure, a previous heart attack, coronary artery disease and congenital heart disease. To increase the knowledge of cardiovascular disease, it is important to find new methods to study early indicators of cardiovascular disease. Changes in timing for the pumping and regulating functions in the heart as well as changes in the mechanical properties of the arteries are such early manifestations. Another very early manifestation is the increase in concentration of arterial natriuretic peptides. They are a signal substance triggered by elongation of the myocytes in the atria. It is a family of related peptides consisting of 28 amino acids, acting through membrane-bound guanyl cyclase receptors. Their main actions in the body are a dilatation of the vascular bed by action on the smooth muscles in the arteries, and a second effect is to increase excretion in the urine, resulting in natriuresis. Those activities result in lowered blood pressure and optimisation of the circulating blood volume. The signal substances, the peptides, are unique because they are produced from the atria. Today they are measured after they are diluted in the blood pool, through a sample from the venous blood. Our intention is to measure them at the production source in the right atrium through a catheter with a tailored receptor surface on the top of a catheter. By this technique, the intention is to find a more sensitive and earlier warning for cardiac failure in patients that are under observation after, e.g., cardiac surgery or treated for cardiac problems in compensation. The earlier the treatment is started the better secondary, partly aggravating, correcting mechanisms in the body could be prevented. The concept could also be used for detecting other signals or directly acting substances in the body direct at the production source. One non-specific example would be nitrogen oxides, released by various infections in the body. The goal of the project is to develop a technique, based on a novel medical sensor assembly concept for in-vivo studies on-site in the human heart that can bring a better knowledge and better understandings of the peptide releasing processes in the human heart. The technique can be used as an early detection for heart failure and can also provide a cheaper and better validated diagnosis and prognosis for medical and surgical treatments as well as follow ups for patients. The sensor assembly includes three components: an optical sensor, a valve for sample-taking inside the body and a selective bio-filter. The sensor assembly will be developed to a stage were it is ready to become a commercial product. The developed sensor structure is based on several years of research in nanotechnology at the Department of Materials Chemistry, UPPSALA UNIVERSITY. The project combines unique thin film techniques with nano-structured templates. The project consortium consists of Uppsala based companies, NANEXA AB (main applicant) and RADI MEDICAL AB as well as one company situated in Szeged, HUNGARY (partner), LASERSKILL LTD and UNIVERSITY OF SZEGED. Together we have the necessary competence to develop the entire sensor structure. NANEXA has three patents pending on the sensor structure and will develop the SERS (surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy) sensor, the optical valve and the bio-filter. LASERSKILL will develop the optical part of the sensor involving fibre optics, a low power solid state laser and a Raman spectrometer.
Project ID: 
4 917
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
880 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Medical technology
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.