The Department of Defense has awarded $1.6 million to the Center for Bioelectronics, Biosensors and Biochips (C3B) at Clemson University for the development of an implantable biochip that could relay vital health information if a soldier is wounded in battle or a civilian is hurt in an accident.
The biochip, about the size of a grain of rice, could measure and relay such information as lactate and glucose levels in the event of a major hemorrhage, whether on the battlefield, at home or on the highway.
Anthony Guiseppi-Elie, C3B director and Dow Chemical Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and professor of bioengineering says first responders to the trauma scene could inject the biochip into the wounded victim and gather data almost immediately.
The device has other long-term potential applications, such as monitoring astronauts’ vital signs during long-duration space flights and reading blood-sugar levels for diabetics.
“We now lose a large percentage of patients to bleeding, and getting vital information such as how much oxygen is in the tissue back to ER physicians and medical personnel can often mean the difference between life and death,” said Guiseppi-Elie.
“Our goal is to improve the quality and expediency of care for fallen soldiers and civilian trauma victims. The biochip also may be injected as a precaution to future traumas” Elie explains.
Clemson scientists have formulated a gel that mimics human tissue and reduces the chances of the body rejecting the biochip, which has been a problem in the past.
The researcher predicts the biochip is five years away from human trials. The award is funded by the Department of Defense through the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program and is a joint study with the department of molecular pathology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Telesensors Inc. in Knoxville, Tenn.