Hospital on a chip could increase survival of battlefield wounded
8 December 2008
Researchers in the US aim to develop an implantable biochip that
could diagnose and provide medication to soldiers as soon as they are
injured. Survival of battlefield wounds often depends on the level of
treatment within the first 30 minutes, so providing instant treatment to
wounded soldiers before a medic can reach them could increase chances of
Evgeny Katz of Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, and Joseph Wang of
the University of California, San Diego, will share a four-year, $1.6
million grant from the US Office of Naval Research to create the
high-tech miniaturised field hospital.
The automated sense-and-treat system will continuously monitor a
soldier’s sweat, tears or blood for biomarkers that signal common
battlefield injuries such as trauma, shock, brain injury or fatigue and
then automatically administer the proper medication.
Katz will lead a team of researchers who are working on creating
enzymes that can measure the biomarkers and provide the logic necessary
to make a limited set of diagnoses based on several biological
“We have already designed bioelectrodes and biofuel cells responding
to multiple biochemical signals in a logic way,” says Katz, co-principal
investigator on the project. “In the future we could expect implantable
devices controlled by physiological signals and responding to the needs
of an organism, notably a human.”
Katz, who joined the Clarkson faculty two years ago from the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem, holds the Milton Kerker Endowed Chair of
Colloid Science at Clarkson. His current research is a continuation of
work begun before joining the Clarkson faculty.
Wang, principal investigator on the project, will head a
nanotechnology team in San Diego that will build a minimally invasive
system for the soldier’s body to process the biomarker information,
develop a diagnosis and begin administering the proper medications.
Wang and Katz hope that the resulting enzyme-logic sense-and-treat
system will revolutionize the monitoring and treatment of injured
soldiers and will lead to dramatic improvements in their survival rate.
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