MIT researchers, employing a novel biomaterial, have developed a subcutaneous sensor to detect myoglobin, creatine kinase and cardiac troponin elevations.
The tiny sensor uses "magnetic relaxation switches" (MRSw), which are antibody coated, nanoparticle-based magnetic resonance contrast agents. These sensors have the capability not only to pick up an MI as soon as the damage to muscle begins, but also capture the amount of damage that has occurred.
The subcutaneous sensors have the capacity to measure the protein that was surrounding the device after the heart attack had taken place. They also help view the size of the infarction region by sensing the magnitude of the signals.
The research group has made significant advancements to the technology, and has moved from magnetic resonance imaging to development of a grain-sized device with a tiny capacitor and a coil surrounding the implanted sensors. These can be powered by an external handheld device. The sensors use antibodies that have a life of around six- to eight-weeks, and the MIT team aims to develop more stable antibodies to extend the viability of the implants up to a year.
The research team is also exploring the potential usability of these sensors in detecting drug toxicities, oxygen levels, hydration, cancer, and edema levels in heart-failure patients.