“Bacteria-on-a-chip” will help to diagnose the disease from the inside

Scientists at mit have built a intake sensor, equipped with a genetically modified bacteria that can diagnose bleeding in the stomach or other gastrointestinal problems. “Bacteria-on-chip” includes sensors of living cells and electronics, ultra low power, which can pass bacterial response to a wireless signal that can be read with a smartphone.

“Designed by combining biological data with low-power wireless electronics, we can detect the biological signals in the body almost in real time, thus new diagnostic tools,” says Timothy Lu, associate Professor at MIT in electrical engineering, computer science and bioengineering.

In the new study, which appeared may 24, Sciennce, scientists have created sensors that respond to heme, a component of blood, and showed their efficiency in pigs. They also developed sensors that can respond to a molecule that signals inflammation.

Lou and Ananta Chandrakasan, Dean school of engineering Massachusetts Institute of technology and Professor of electrical engineering and computer science, Vannevar Bush, was senior author of the study. The leading authors were graduate student and postdoc Mike Miami Philip Nadeau.

They placed bacteria in the four holes on a specially designed sensor covered poluprorocheski membrane that allows the passage of small molecules from the environment. Under each hole is a phototransistor capable of measuring the amount of light generated by bacterial cells and transmit information to the microprocessor, which sends a wireless signal to the nearest computer or smartphone. The data can be analyzed using an Android app.

The sensor is a cylinder with a length of about 1.5 inches, requires about 13 milliwatts of power. Researchers have equipped sensor 2.7-volt battery, which, according to their estimates, can operate the device for 1.5 months of continuous use. They say that the battery can feed the acidic liquid in the stomach.

“The focus of this work is on design and integration of system which allows you to combine the power of bacterial-sensing with ultra-low capacity to implement important applications for evaluation of health status,” says Chandrakasan.

In short, this sensor allows you to bypass unnecessary procedures. You can simply swallow the capsule, and in a relatively short period of time, you will learn whether there has been bleeding. In the future, scientists plan to reduce the size of the sensor and to examine how long the bacteria can survive in the digestive tract. They also hope to develop sensors for gastrointestinal diseases, not only for bleeding.

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