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Automated glucose and lactate sensor fabrication : biocompatibility assessment

Advances have been made in in vivo glucose sensor design and development of chemically modified electrodes. This approach avoids use of mediators and instead employs electrocatalytic films on the electrode surface. These electrodes have been fabricated in a needle-type format for potential in vivo implantation. The patent on this technology (PCT/GB95/00265) is available for license or sale.
A key element in the commercial introduction of in vivo sensors is their automated production. Cranfield has developed a number of technologies suitable for the rapid production of reproducible sensor structures. Screen printers are used to produce multilayered structures on planar substrates and nondelicate surfaces. Ink jet printing is suitable for deposition of material onto nonplanar and delicate surfaces, and is economical with reagents. Air brush printing produces a very fine spray which is deposited as a printed pattern. Cranfield Biotechnology Centre offers these and other deposition technologies as a service to industry.
Monitoring of lactate can be used to assess either fitness or well being especially under stress. A miniature screen printed amperometric electrode has been developed for determining in vivo lactic acid concentrations in the horse. The flexibility and small size of the electrodes linked to the ability to detect a wide range of concentrations offer major advantages for in vivo lactate monitoring. The approach is being extended and compared to alternative strategies using direct electron transfer from lactate oxidase, with a view to application in critical care monitoring in man.
Surfaces showing reduced protein adsorption are usually the most biocompatible. This can have a great impact on the stability and performance of in vivo sensors which may be required to function inside the body for days or weeks. Cranfield has developed new methods for evaluating the biocompatibility of a material in real time. Optical sensors have been developed based on the interaction of molecules with exponentially decaying electromagnetic fields. This permits real time monitoring of biomolecule surface interactions.

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