May 24, 2024

Revolutionary Point-of-Care Technology for Automated Dosing Systems

Rice University’s synthetic biologists have made a breakthrough in leveraging glucose monitoring technology from automated insulin dosing systems to expand its applications in monitoring and dosing a wide range of drugs. Published in Nature Communications, the research led by Caroline Ajo-Franklin’s team showcases the modification of a blood-glucose sensor to detect the presence of the anticancer drug afimoxifene. This drug, an estrogen inhibitor produced by patients post-chemotherapy with tamoxifen, exemplifies the potential of this novel approach.

By capitalizing on established biosensing technology readily available in pharmacies for a nominal cost, the team aims to hasten the development of automated dosing strategies for chemotherapeutic agents and various medications, along with real-time monitoring solutions for blood biomarkers. Ajo-Franklin envisions a future where the monitoring and dosing of drugs mirror the convenience and precision of current blood glucose monitoring systems, transcending the conventional one-size-fits-all dosing methodologies prevalent today.

The essence of blood-glucose monitoring lies in a biochemical process where specific proteins bind to glucose molecules, unleashing electrons and generating a minute electric current proportional to the glucose level in the blood sample. Through meticulous experimentation, lead author Rong Cai identified a modified protein that could interact with afimoxifene, leading to a distinct reduction in the electric current output from the glucose reaction. This innovative approach enabled the detection of afimoxifene by comparing the electric current obtained from the standard glucose test to the altered response in the presence of the drug.

To translate this concept into a functional electronic device, Ajo-Franklin’s team collaborated with Rice engineer and materials scientist Rafael Verduzco’s research group to construct an afimoxifene sensor capable of emitting an electric current upon detecting the drug. The team is actively exploring ways to enhance the sensitivity of glucose-based drug tests and rapidly identify glucose-oxidizing proteins with the potential to detect a broader spectrum of drugs beyond afimoxifene.

Cai emphasized the adaptability of the technology, noting that while the desired outcome may vary, the underlying principle remains unchanged and only requires internal protein modifications. Being able to conduct the test using traditional methods such as strips or on the skin exemplifies the user-friendly nature of this innovation.

Additionally, the technology’s ability to produce an electric output offers seamless integration with electronic devices for data storage, processing, and transmission. This amalgamation of electrical signals with biological reactions presents an intriguing avenue for further advancements in healthcare technology.

The promising results of this study underline the transformative potential of point-of-care therapeutics sensors in revolutionizing automated dosing systems and personalized drug administration, marking a significant step towards enhancing precision medicine and patient care.

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1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it