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Researchers Invent 'smart' Thread That Collects Diagnostic Data When Sutured Into Tissue

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Threads penetrate multiple layers of tissue to sample interstitial fluid and direct it to sensing threads that collect data, such as pH and glucose levels.

A team at Tufts University has integrated nanoscale sensors, electronics, and microfluidics into threats that can be sutured through multiple layers of tissue and still gather and report diagnostic data wirelessly, in real time.

Credit: Tufts Now

Tufts University researchers have integrated nanoscale sensors, electronics, and microfluidics into cotton and synthetic threads that can be sutured through multiple layers of tissue to wirelessly gather diagnostic data in real time.

The team used a variety of conductive threads, which were dipped in physical and chemical sensing compounds and connected to wireless electronic circuitry, to create a flexible platform they sutured into tissue in rats as well as in vitro. The threads collected data on tissue health, pH, and glucose levels, which can be used to determine such things as how a wound is healing, whether infection is emerging, or whether the body's chemistry is out of balance. The results were wirelessly transmitted to a cellphone and computer.

The three-dimensional platform is able to conform to complex structures such as organs, wounds, or orthopedic implants.

The researchers think the advance raises the possibility of optimizing patient-specific treatments. "We think thread-based devices could potentially be used as smart sutures for surgical implants, smart bandages to monitor wound healing, or integrated with textile or fabric as personalized health monitors and point-of-care diagnostics," says Sameer Sonkusale, director of Tufts' interdisciplinary Nano Lab.

From Tufts Now
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Abstracts Copyright © 2016 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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