Researchers at MIT and Northeastern have come up with a new system for monitoring biomedical indicators — such as levels of sodium or glucose in the blood — that could someday lead to implantable devices that would allow, for example, people with diabetes to check their blood sugar just by glancing at an area of skin. A number of researchers have developed microparticle-based systems — hollow, microscopic particles filled with specific chemicals — for monitoring biomedical conditions or for the selective delivery of drugs to certain organs or areas of the body. But one drawback of these systems is that the particles are small enough to be swept away from the initial site over time. The new system involves a different kind of microparticle that can avoid this problem. While traditional particles are spherical, the new particles are shaped like long tubes. The tubes’ narrow width, which is comparable to that of the previously studied microparticles, keeps the tubes’ contents in close proximity to blood or body tissue, making it easy for the particles to sense and respond to chemical or other conditions in their surroundings. The tubes’ relatively greater length keeps the tubes very well anchored in place for long-term monitoring, perhaps for months on end. The particles eventually could be used to monitor the glucose levels of diabetics or the salt levels of those with a condition that can cause swings in blood salt concentrations.
Brown University scientists describe a new system that can safely hold a magnetic gelatin capsule in place anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract of a rat. In humans, the system could improve drug delivery.
The problem with administering many medications orally is that a pill often will not dissolve at the site in the gastrointestinal tract where the medicine can be absorbed into the bloodstream. The new magnetic pill system developed by the researchers could solve the problem by safely holding a pill in place in the intestine wherever it needs to be.
Type of employment: Limit of tenure, 4 years
Extent: 100 %
Location: Department of Chemistry, Division of Biophysical Chemistry, Lund
First day of employment: March-September 2011
Official Records Number: LTHPA 2010/825
The position is linked to the research project “Molecular basis of heat and desiccation tolerance of bacterial cells and spores”, funded by Nestec Ltd, Lund University and the Swedish Research Council. The research work will be carried out at the Division of Biophysical Chemistry, which belongs to the Center for Molecular Protein Science in the Department of Chemistry. The Division is located at Lund University’s Center for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (Kemicentrum). Kemicentrum is one of the largest research units for chemistry in Scandinavia with a staff of ca 400 and a yearly research budget of ca 350 million SEK. Research within the Division of Biophysical Chemistry ranges from water physics and nuclear spin relaxation theory to fundamental and applied problems in the life sciences, with a focus on protein interactions and dynamics.