Sensitive drug care

Researchers at Cranfield University are working with engineers at Sphere Medical Holding to develop a drug sensor.

Researchers at Cranfield University are working with engineers at  Sphere Medical Holding to develop a drug sensor that will improve the care of critically ill patients by ‘personalising’ their medication.

To assist with the development, the two organisations are to receive £322,000 of funding from the Technology Strategy Board.

Each patient’s unique combination of characteristics such as weight, age and gender affect how drugs perform therapeutically in the body, therefore it is important that clinicians have the appropriate tools to customise a patient’s medication and achieve optimum uptake.

To meet this need, the industrial-academic team will spend the next few years developing a disposable sensor that can measure drug concentration, detect changes as they happen and provide early detection of any faults in the drug-delivery system.

Dr Kal Karim, lecturer in organic and computational chemistry, Cranfield Health, said: ‘We hope that the device will result in new treatment regimes in intensive-care medicine, improve therapy, save lives and significantly reduce the cost of care.’

The project has been made possible through the Technology Strategy Board’s ‘Technologies for Health’ competition and is due to be completed in May 2011.

A prototype of Sphere’s Proxima system integrated into an arterial line. The Proxima system will form the platform onto which the drug sensor will be integrated