Dr. Mònica Mir, researcher at the Nanobioengineering Group at IBEC and leader of the Caixa Impulse funded project ISCHEMSURG, explained on World Transplant Day how this electrochemical sensor can monitor ischemia in transplanted tissue thus, improving transplant patients’ quality of life.
How did the ISCHEMSURG project take shape?
The project was born after speaking with medical doctors who told us about the problems they were having monitoring postoperative ischemia—an inadequate supply of blood—in transplanted tissue.
There are existing techniques to detect ischemia, but they are expensive, they often give false positives, and can be highly invasive. As a result, many doctors have stopped using them, and have instead reverted to the classical methods, that is, assessing colour and temperature to decide if vascularization has taken place.
But this method is not sufficient in assessing micro-vascularization. We are talking about a 21st-century procedure using 20th-century monitoring techniques. The fate of such a complex operation should not be left to subjectivity. And that’s why we have developed an easily-implanted microsensor that can detect these abnormal vascularizations.
Can it be used to monitor vascularization of tissue that doesn’t come from the patient?
Yes, in fact, what we are monitoring is the perfusion in the vascularization of two tissues, so the origin of the other tissue doesn’t matter. If perfusion is not well-performed between the two tissues in one or two days, the transplanted tissue is degraded. In the case of organ transplantation, the organ can fail, so it’s really important to get this right.
How will this technology be used?
It has been designed for post-operative use in hospitals, because these problems arise in the first few hours after surgery. It will be inserted with a needle which can then be taken out so that it’s more comfortable for the patient, and when the monitoring has finished, the sensor can be removed from the tissue very easily.
What did the project gain from CaixaImpulse?
It was an excellent platform, first of all to improve our technology. But I think that the main power that this fellowship has is what you can learn. They give you a lot of knowledge in business and in investors, and help you to build a strong network.
Original source: CaixaImpulse