How Biosensor Chips Could Change Clinical Research Training ForeverDecember 1, 2015
For years, the world’s leading laboratories have been working to develop technology that collects reliable data continuously, over the longest period of time possible. With a small but powerful biosensor chip, Lisbon-based nanobiotechnology engineer Sandro Carrara may have reached this goal.
If you train to become a clinical research professional, you’ll use the latest technology and methodology to prepare for a range of careers in the pharmaceutical industry. As biosensor chip technology improves, it’s more and more likely that you’ll encounter it in your clinical research career.
Read on to learn the ins and outs of this exciting new technology, and to learn how it might change our world for the better.
A Full-Circuit Look at Biosensor Chip Technology
The biosensor is a one-centimetre square device containing three main components: a control unit, a radio transmission module, and a sensor circuit. The control unit analyzes the signals that come through the sensors, and the transmission module immediately communicates the analysis to a Bluetooth device—usually the clinical researcher’s mobile phone.
The chips are made up of a group of electrochemical sensors that react to a wide range of compounds, which can remain active with or without enzymes for days and even weeks without researcher interference.
“This is the world’s first chip capable of measuring not just pH and temperature, but also metabolism-related molecules like glucose, lactate and cholesterol, as well as drugs,” Carrara explained.
The Future of Clinical Research Careers
With this technology, clinical researchers can achieve a more precise measurement of the impact of medicine on the body over time. That’s because, with increasing effectiveness, biosensor chips can collect data from an “in vivo” (living) subject, instead of from samples of biological matter that have a short shelf-life. When a chip can be inserted, the whole living body system becomes the sample itself.
The biosensor chip was successfully tested at the Institute for Research and Biomedicine (IRB) in Bellinzona, where researchers were able to constantly monitor the sensors’ results on in vivo mice.
Without interfering with the mice’s health or habits, the chips were able to generate data on the mice’s glucose and paracetamol levels. By implanting the chip just under the epidermis, the study was minimally invasive to the mice’s bodies and daily activities—unlike the wire-tracking procedures typically used in modern clinical research.
“Knowing the precise and real-time effect of drugs on the metabolism is one of the keys to the type of personalised, precision medicine that we are striving for,” Carrara explains.
Industry experts predict that professionals with clinical research diplomas will be conducting clinical tests on humans within the next three to five years.
A Life-Saving Development in Clinical Research Training
“Biosensing is a valuable tool to investigate a wide range of biochemical reactions, estimate their chemical kinetics and other characteristics,” says Yury Stebunov, a lead researcher at Moscow’s Laboratory of Nanooptics and Plasmonics.
He believes this technology will bring the largest change to clinical research careers in the foreseeable future. “Widespread introduction of this method into preclinical trials will completely change the pharmaceutical industry.” That’s because, with increasing accuracy, these chips can detect substances and compounds in the body by the molecule.
They can provide detailed and accurate monitoring of a patient’s whole physiology—allowing researchers to study effects of an administered drug in the body more accurately for an in-depth means of studying diseases. For these reasons, the biosensor chip is predicted to dramatically accelerate research for HIV and cancer drugs.
Would you like to contribute to this fast-paced, live-saving industry with clinical research training of your own?
Visit AAPS to learn more, and discover what our clinical research program can offer you.