Researchers and collaborators of the Soh lab at UC Santa Barbara have developed an implantable device to monitor real time concentrations of medications in the blood. The device, called the MEDIC (Microfluid Electrochemical Detector for In Vivo Concentrations), aims to address an increasingly identified problem in medicine – that people metabolize and respond to the same medication at the same dose in very different ways.
A great deal of focus has been on identifying genetic polymorphisms and other markers that can be used to identify patients who are either resistant to certain medications or at risk for adverse effects – think HLA typing prior to initiating Tegretol therapy.
The device itself consists of a chamber through which a constant stream of the patient’s blood runs. At the base of the chamber, small sensing molecules called aptamers bind the drug molecules. Once the drug molecule is bound to the aptamer, a tiny jolt of current is sent to an external device so the drug concentration can be calculated.
The researchers have overcome the problem of particles in natural blood sticking to and coating the sensor by adding a buffer layer to the chamber.
This device aims to open new opportunities into the personalization of medicine.