News Release

Introducing BioSUM: a bioresorbable ultrasonic sensor to detect post-surgical leaks

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

A new device tested in pigs enables monitoring and early detection of pH changes in deep tissues due to post-operative leaks following gastrointestinal surgery. Such leaks – which occur at high rates 3-7 days following surgery – can be fatal if overlooked, and as such, require constant monitoring. Yet, early detection of these leaks remains a challenge. To address this need, Jaiqi Liu and colleagues developed a novel class of pH-responsive materials for real-time ultrasound measurement of pH changes indicative of leaks from healing surgical joins following gastrointestinal surgery. They dubbed their bioresorbable, shape-adaptive, ultrasound-readable materials structure, “BioSUM.” The thin and implantable device is comprised of small metal discs within a pH-responsive hydrogel. During recovery, the distance between the metal discs can be measured using ultrasound. Should a leak occur, the hydrogel reacts to the change in pH and swells, pushing the metal discs further apart, signaling a complication. This would allow intervention before further organ damage could occur. Moreover, the hydrogel can be tuned to the pH range native to where it is implanted, allowing leaks to be identified across several gastrointestinal organs, such as the stomach, small intestines, and pancreas. Liu et al. demonstrate the device in vivo across two small and large animal models, including pigs, which have a gastrointestinal tract similar to that of humans. “Monitoring technologies that meet societal demands for precise, personalized, and convenient health care are on the rise,” write Shonit Nair Sharma and Yuhan Lee in a related Perspective. “BioSUM, in its current iteration, introduces a platform technology that yields the potential to fit within a repertoire of emerging monitoring tools, such as capsule-based diagnostics and ophthalmic imaging techniques, that enhance the way that disease can be understood, monitored, and managed.”

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