Profusa (South San Francisco, CA) has won a $7.5 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Army Research Office for further development of its tissue integrated biosensor technology, the company said Tuesday.
The U.S. military sees value in the technology improving mission efficiency through real-time monitoring of combat soldier health status.
“Profusa’s vision is to replace a point-in-time chemistry panel that measures multiple biomarkers, such as oxygen, glucose, lactate, urea, and ions with a biosensor that provides a continuous stream of wireless data,” Ben Hwang, PhD, Profusa’s chairman and CEO, said in a news release.
The sensors are made of a bioengineered “smart hydrogel” that is similar to contact lens material, forming a porous, tissue-integrating scaffold. When exposed to light, the hydrogel is able to luminesce in proportion to the concentration of a specific chemical—oxygen, glucose, or another biomarker.
Profusa’s unique bioengineering approach overcomes the largest hurdle in long-term use of biosensors in the body: the foreign body response. Approximately 3 to 5 mm long and 500 microns in diameter, each tiny biosensor is a soft, flexible fiber designed to be biologically compatible with the body’s tissues for long-term monitoring up to two years while overcoming the effects of local inflammation or rejection.
Adhered to the skin’s surface or held by hand, a separate optical reader is used to read the fluorescent signal from the embedded biosensor. The reader sends excitation light through the skin to the biosensor, which then emits fluorescent light proportional to the amount of biochemical measured.
Profusa’s technology platform enables the development of biosensor systems with a variety of form factors serving consumer as well as medical applications for continuous monitoring of body chemicals. Results from the optical reader are designed to be transmitted to a smart phone application that allows the user to make actionable decisions, from improving their general health and well-being, to taking their athleticism to another level, or managing a chronic disease such as diabetes or COPD. Data can be shared securely via HIPAA-compliant digital networks with healthcare providers and public health analysts conducting longitudinal studies.
SOURCES- Qmed, Profusa, Youtube