Medical researchers have developed a range of diagnostic tools and patient compliance monitors from non-invasive wearable biomarker sensors. In particular, we’ve seen several wearables based on sensors to track biomarkers in human sweat. Stanford University researchers have developed a wearable biosensor patch that quickly measures cortisol levels in human sweat. At the University of Glasgow, scientists designed a stretchable sensor that measures sweat to report pH levels within eight seconds.
Boston-based LEO Pharma’s LEO Science and Tech Hub research and design group recently announced a partnership with Epicore Biosystems to explore the use of a non-invasive, wearable sweat sensor to measure prognostic biomarkers in real-time to monitor patient response and to support treatment decisions. Epicore developed skin-like non-invasive fluidic sensors that measure metabolic and digital biomarkers in real-time. The first focus of the new alliances is a proof of concept with Northwestern University’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics and Feinberg School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology to validate the clinical relevance of the approach for patients with atopic dermatitis (eczema). Eczema is a diverse disease and finding the most effective treatment regimen can be difficult and time-consuming. The collaborative team hopes that Epicore’s “lab on a chip” sweat sensors will accelerate intervention after patients leave the hospital with an “at-home-patch” test that will help determine the benefits of specific antibodies.
In one sense the LEO/Epicore/Northwestern project is still working on a problem in need of a solution. However, the joint effort by participants that focus on dermatologic applications, sweat sensors and fluidic analytics, and dermatology appears to field an A-list team best suited for the job. Cross-institutional investigations pursuing solutions to challenging medical problems sounds like a valid and replicable model for a range of applications.