Sometimes doctors have to put in quite a lot of effort to find out how much medicine a patient should take. This is influenced by many factors, such as the age, weight or metabolism of the patient. With this in mind, scientists Tom So, Kevin Plaxco, and Scott Ferguson of the University of California have developed an implantable device that can measure the drug's content in a patient's blood in real time.
The new instrument, named MEDIC, consists of a central chamber containing gold electrodes. The continuation of the electrodes is aptamers - small DNA chains capable of recognizing drug molecules. As blood flows through the chamber, aptamers capture small drug molecules among large blood cells and send a signal to the electrode. This generates a weak electrical current that can be recognized by a computer. Laboratory tests on rats have shown a very high accuracy of this technology.
Hopefully, MEDIC will help doctors more quickly understand the specifics of the patient's biology and quickly prescribe the right dosage of drugs.