Nanomedicine: promises and pitfalls 2

Published on September 30, 2015   37 min

Other Talks in the Series: Nanomedicine

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Now, the next part of the slides I wanted to talk about are sensors, and I think this is another very promising avenue for nanomedicine.
Whenever somebody has a hip implant, or any medical device for that matter, you have to go into a hospital. You have to go into a surgical suite. You have to get an X-ray, get a bone scan to determine how your implant is performing. And many times, the information you get, it's too late to do anything about it. These measurement techniques are not sensitive enough. They're not precise enough to determine small amounts of bacteria that might be present, whether bone growth is not occurring, if scar tissue is starting. They're not sensitive enough to determine those events. And many times they only show up on these X-rays or bone scans when the problem is too big.
We're thinking of implantable sensors that you can put on implants or other parts of the body to determine events, cellular events. So we have a sensor component that I'll describe. This is a component that will detect what's happening surrounding your implant. We have a responder. So of course, you want to be able to do something about it if bacteria are present around your implant. So we have something that can respond to an external iPhone application, for example, to release a drug to kill those bacteria. And then, of course, the last circle here is the processor. So we have to process all this information from the sensor, from the responder, to allow for a human interface.
You can see our sensor. So here is the titanium hip implant as our first model. We're now studying this for catheters and other applications. But you can just quickly look at the bottom right, which shows how we have anodized titanium, which is what the hip implant is composed of. And then we grew carbon nanotubes out of the surface. These carbon nanotubes, or multi-wall carbon nanotubes, electrically sense what cell attaches. So bone cells have a different conductivity than bacteria, which has a different conductivity than scar tissue-forming cells. So by using carbon nanotubes to measure the conductivity of a cell that attaches, we can identify it. Now, pictured above is our responder. We've created a biodegradable polymer coating that can basically release a drug when we apply an electromagnetic field. So this biodegradable conductive polymer could release an antibiotic if we sense through the carbon nanotubes that bacteria have attached, or it could release an anti-inflammatory if we see that macrophages have attached. So that's our responder. You can see on the left our processor. So we have developed this sensor to send radio frequencies to a computer, or again a handheld device, to communicate what is happening inside the body surrounding this implant. So it's a whole collection of a more intelligent implant that can earlier determine adverse events that might be occurring surrounding the implant to ensure success later on, things that are not possible with today's technology. And by the way, this is all in real time. So every minute somebody is using their implant or the implant is in the body, this sensor collects information, which is much better than having a patient go in periodically for an X-ray to determine what's happening.