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Field-hospital-on-a-chip project awarded to nanoengineer from UC San Diego
Date:10/23/2008

With a $1.6M grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR), UC San Diego NanoEngineering professor Joseph Wang will lead a project to create a "field hospital on a chip" that soldiers can wear on the battlefield.

The automated sense-and-treat system will continuously monitor a soldier's sweat, tears or blood for biomarkers that signal common battlefield injuries such as trauma, shock, brain injury or fatigue. Once the system detects a battlefield injury, it will automatically administer the proper medication, thus beginning the treatment well before the soldier has reached a field hospital.

"Since the majority of battlefield deaths occur within the first 30 minutes after injury, rapid diagnosis and treatment are crucial for enhancing the survival rate of injured soldiers," said Joseph Wang, a NanoEngineering professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego and the Primary Investigator on the project.

To realize their "field hospital on a chip" idea, the engineers will need to build a minimally invasive system that monitors multiple biomarkers simultaneously and uses the system's "smarts" to process all this biomarker information and tease out accurate, automated diagnoses. These diagnoses would immediately trigger drug delivery or other medical intervention.

"Today's insulin and glucose management systems for patients with diabetes don't include smart sensors capable of performing complex logic operations," said Wang, who helped to develop the first noninvasive system for monitoring glucose from a patient's sweat. "We are working on a system that will be different. It will monitor biomarkers and make decisions about the type of injury a person has sustained and then begin treating that person accordingly," said Wang.

"Developing an effective interface between complex physiological processes and implantable devices could have a broader biomedical impact, providing autonomous, individual, 'on-de
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Contact: Daniel Kane
dbkane@ucsd.edu
858-534-3262
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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