A small sticker that monitors the position of organs

The future of health technology, both in Spain and the rest of the world, involves miniaturization. The idea is to replace the huge machines that carry out the most accurate analysis of serious diseases with portable devices. Make diagnostic procedures cheaper and faster, For this reason, for some time now some of the most prestigious international researchers have been working on devices such as smart plasters that perform laser diagnostics and can detect cancer, heart attacks or bleeding.

Wearables, beyond smart watches and activity bracelets, are one of the great hopes of biomedicine. Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) know this very well and that is why they are working on the development of A small sticker that uses ultrasound to monitor the position of organs inside the body,

Featured in a magazine article science advancementRoughly speaking, it consists of a sensor that sends sound waves through the skin so that they are reflected by internal organs and returned to the sticker with information about its stiffness. These data are usually decisive when it comes to Control diseases like liver and kidney failure or progression of solid tumors,

,Smart plaster connected to your cell phone: It warns you if the wound gets infected,

“When certain organs suffer from disease, they can become stiff over time,” explains the paper’s senior author Xuanhe Zhao, professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. “With this sticker, we can Continuously monitor changes in stiffness over a long period of timeWhich is extremely important for early diagnosis of internal organ failure.”

organ transplant

The idea of ​​using ultrasound in portable devices for treatment and diagnostic devices is not new. Already in 2005, ultrasound transducers were implanted in sheep. Control and accelerate the fracture healing process, Since then, thanks to advances in soft materials, all kinds of devices have been developed that use this technology to acquire images of organs and use that information to measure blood pressure or evaluate heart function. Are.

BAUS-E can be pasted on various parts of the body

BAUS-E can be pasted on various parts of the body



Building on some of that progress, MIT engineers wanted to offer An alternative to ultrasound elastographyA method similar to ultrasound with manual probing that is often used in hospital ICUs, especially for patients who have had organ transplants.

It is very important to control it in these cases and in diseases related to liver and kidney. Stiffness in the limbs, as this may indicate a rapid decline in health Which, in many cases, can lead to death.

“After an organ transplant, the first 72 hours are critical,” says Qifa Zhou, one of the study’s lead authors and a professor at the University of Southern California. “With traditional ultrasound, you have to keep a probe attached to the body. But this cannot be done continuously for a long time. The doctor may miss a critical moment and Realized too late that organ failure,

To develop bioadhesive ultrasonic elastography (BAUS-E), the researchers relied on an adhesive they had previously developed. Obtain images of deep tissues and organs, However, he had to modify it, because it only captured longitudinal waves, not shear waves, which were needed to know the stiffness of organs.

First version of MIT sticker that monitors organs

Thus, the entire process was based on miniature ultrasonic elastography, until they managed to fit the system on a stamp-sized sticker. To achieve the same sensitivity as manual testing, Engineers had to include 128 high-quality piezoelectric transducersCovered in 25mm square chip.

to permit Sound waves enter and leave the device without losing information, they coated the bottom of the chip with a mixture of water and polymers in the form of a hydrogel. It is this sticky, elastic substance that allows the device to stick to the skin and be easily removed when not needed.


To understand the reliability and long-term feasibility of the device, the researchers tested BAUS-E on rats. This way they verified that the sticker is capable of working Continuous measurement of liver stiffness for 48 hours, Thanks to the information collected by the device, early and obvious signs of acute liver failure can be detected, later confirmed due to tissue samples.

Now, engineers are studying how to adapt the design for use in humans, as the disease has a mortality rate of about 80%. Professor Hsiao-Chuan Liu, one of the study’s lead authors, explains, “We believe that immediately after a liver or kidney transplant, we can stick this sticker on a patient and see how the stiffness of the organ improves within days. “How does it change with time?” At USC. “if there is any Early diagnosis of acute liver failure“Doctors can take immediate action instead of waiting for the condition to worsen.”

,This is the sensor that tells whether the anti-cancer drug is being effective in real time or not.,

According to the researchers, in principle, its adaptation would not require any major changes. The only current requirement is Must have an electronic system connected to the stickerSimilar to electrodes commonly used in medical consultations, which is responsible for emitting and collecting sound waves through the BAUS-E.

For this reason, the MIT team is already working on incorporating all the electronics and information processing into a patch slightly larger than the existing patch. The goal is for patients to be able to wear them at home and monitor the condition of their organs for more than 48 hours. This will allow, for example, Monitor the progress of solid tumors, which harden as they worsen,

“We believe it is A technology platform that can save lives“In the future, we think people will be able to stick a few stickers on their body to measure multiple vital signs, get images, and track the health of major organs in the body,” says Zhao.

(TagstoTranslate)MIT(T)Biomedicine(T)Healthcare Technology(T)Health(T)Spain(T)Technology

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