STORRS, Conn. – Engineers at the University of Connecticut have developed a biodegradable pressure sensor that could help doctors monitor chronic lung disease, swelling of the brain and other medical conditions before dissolving harmlessly in a patient’s body. The research was reported in a recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The small flexible sensor has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in surgical sutures, bone grafts and medical implants and was designed to replace existing implantable pressure sensors that have potentially toxic components and must be removed after use. The researchers said other potential applications include monitoring patients with heart disease, bladder cancer and glaucoma. “We knew that if we could develop a sensor that didn’t require surgery to take it out, that would be really significant,” said Thanh Duc Nguyen, the paper’s senior author. The new sensor is capable of capturing a wide range of physiological pressures, such as those found in the brain, behind the eye and in the abdomen, and can be used in its current form to help patients avoid invasive sensor-removal surgery.
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