Navigation Links
Biosensor could help detect brain injuries during heart surgery

Johns Hopkins engineers and cardiology experts have teamed up to develop a fingernail-sized biosensor that could alert doctors when serious brain injury occurs during heart surgery. By doing so, the device could help doctors devise new ways to minimize brain damage or begin treatment more quickly.

In the Nov. 11 issue of the journal Chemical Science, the team reported on lab tests demonstrating that the prototype sensor had successfully detected a protein associated with brain injuries.

"Ideally, the testing would happen while the surgery is going on, by placing just a drop of the patient's blood on the sensor, which could activate a sound, light or numeric display if the protein is present," said the study's senior author, Howard E. Katz, a Whiting School of Engineering expert in organic thin film transistors, which form the basis of the biosensor.

The project originated about two years ago when Katz, who chairs the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, was contacted by Allen D. Everett, a Johns Hopkins Children's Center pediatric cardiologist who studies biomarkers linked to pulmonary hypertension and brain injury. As brain injury can occur with heart surgery in both adults and children, the biosensor Everett wanted should work on patients of all ages. He is particularly concerned, however, about operating room injuries to children, whose brains are still developing.

"Many of our young patients need one or more heart surgeries to correct congenital heart defects, and the first of these procedures often occurs at birth," Everett said. "We take care of these children through adulthood, and we have all have seen the neurodevelopment problems that occur as a consequence of their surgery and post-operative care. These are very sick children, and we have done a brilliant job of improving overall survival from congenital heart surgery, but we have far to go to improve the long-term outcomes of our patients. This is our biggest challenge for the 21st century."

He said that recent studies found that after heart surgery, about 40 percent of infant patients will have brain abnormalities that show up in MRI scans. The damage is most often caused by strokes, which can be triggered and made worse by multiple events during surgery and recovery, when the brain is most susceptible to injury. These brain injuries can lead to deficiencies in the child's mental development and motor skills, as well as hyperactivity and speech delay.

To address these problems, Everett sought an engineer to design a biosensor that responds to glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), a biomarker linked to brain injuries.

"If we can be alerted when the injury is occurring," he said, "then we should be able to develop better therapies. We could improve our control of blood pressure or redesign our cardiopulmonary bypass machines. We could learn how to optimize cooling and rewarming procedures and have a benchmark for developing and testing new protective medications."

At present, Everett said, doctors have to wait years for some brain injury-related symptoms to appear. That slows down the process of finding out whether new procedures or treatments to reduce brain injuries are effective. The new device may change that.

"The sensor platform is very rapid," Everett said. "It's practically instantaneous."

To create this sensor, materials scientist Katz turned to an organic thin film transistor design. In recent years, sensors built on such platforms have shown that they can detect gases and chemicals associated with explosives. These transistors were an attractive choice for Everett's request because of their potential low cost, low power consumption, biocompatibility and ability to detect a variety of biomolecules in real time. Futhermore, the architecture of these transistors could accommodate a wide variety of other useful electronic materials.

The sensing area is a small square, 3/8ths-of-an-inch on each side. On the surface of the sensor is a layer of antibodies that attract GFAP, the target protein. When this occurs, it changes the physics of other material layers within the sensor, altering the amount of electrical current that is passing through the device. These electrical changes can be monitored, enabling the user to know when GFAP is present.

"This sensor proved to be extremely sensitive," Katz said. "It recognized GFAP even when there were many other protein molecules nearby. As far as we've been able to determine, this is the most sensitive protein detector based on organic thin film transistors."

Through the Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer Office, the team members have filed for full patent protection for the new biosensor. Katz said the team is looking for industry collaborators to conduct further research and development of the device, which has not yet been tested on human patients. But with the right level of effort and support, Katz believes the device could be put into clinical use within five years.

"I'm getting tremendous personal satisfaction from working on a major medical project that could help patients," he said.

Everett, the pediatric cardiologist, said the biosensor could eventually be used outside of the operating room to quickly detect brain injuries among athletes and accident victims.

"It could evolve into a point-of-care or point-of-injury device," he said. "It might also be very useful in hospital emergency departments to screen patients for brain injuries."


Contact: Phil Sneiderman
Johns Hopkins University

Related medicine news :

1. MEMS Market Biosensors and Nanosensors 2013 Analysis in New Research Report at
2. Global Biosensors Market Is Expected to Reach USD 18.9 Billion in 2018 - Transparency Market Research
3. Engineers improve blood testing technology with smartphone app, hand-held biosensor
4. Could deceased heart attack victims expand donor pool?
5. Cracked Foundation Could Mean Mositure Control Problems
6. Common genetic pathway could be conduit to pediatric tumor treatment
7. CO-OPs Have Generally Higher Premiums, Atlantic Information Services Analysis Finds; Could Pose Challenge in Attracting Members
8. New discovery could dramatically reduce leishmaniasis treatment doses and side effects
9. Physician shortage could be cut by new primary care models, study finds
10. U-M study: Smarter blood pressure guidelines could prevent many more heart attacks and strokes
11. New computing model could lead to quicker advancements in medical research, according to Virginia Tech
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Biosensor could help detect brain injuries during heart surgery
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... In an ongoing Clinical ... Center (RMC) in Chicago, IL, UV Angel is evaluating the efficacy of its product ... intensive care units (totaling 30 beds) from May 2014 through October 2015 at a ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... In ... nation’s Periwinkle Pioneers, individuals and groups responsible for advancing care for pulmonary hypertension ... Pioneers, nominated by the public, will receive special recognition throughout 2016 as part ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... Many people know of the common symptoms of low thyroid hormone (also ... many people who find their cholesterol levels and weight are creeping up are more ... they don’t have any of the other symptoms. , Thyroid hormone plays a major ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... lower prices in an early celebration of the early holiday shopping season. Starting ... $29.95 each (normally $33.95 ea). Black Friday promotional pricing is in addition to ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Mississauga, ON (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Deborah Williams without a referral for dental implants at her Mississauga, ON ... qualified and experienced in the placement of dental implants. , Missing teeth can ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... LYON , Frankreich, November 25, 2015 ... hat heute bekanntgegeben, dass sie eine Lizenz für das ... Inserm, Poxel, CNRS, UCBL und ENS-Lyon innehaben, an Enyo ... 2009 von FUI AAP8 ins Leben gerufenen und von ... NATHEB-Programms wurde FXR als ein Behandlungsziel für HBV identifiziert, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Natera, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... genetic testing and the analysis of circulating ... present at the 27 th  Annual Piper ... 2015 at 1:00 p.m. ET.  Matthew Rabinowitz, Ph.D., CEO of ... business activities and financial outlook. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , 24. November 2015 Avery ... Pacemaker Systems, ist erfreut, die Berufung von ... bekannt geben zu können. ... --> Foto - ... (Schweden). Von 1984-1986 war er Fellow des ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: