Since 2008, with the support of the Regional Council of Aquitaine, a team of biologists, medical doctors and microelectronic researchers from Bordeaux has worked towards the development of a hybrid sensor using β-cells, i.e. the cells responsible for insulin secretion. Their first results, which already led to a patent, open new avenues for the development of microfluidic tools for drug and toxicity screening. In the long run, such a device could also participate in an implantable closed-loop system for automatic insulin delivery. In the frame of Interbio, the consortium is looking for industrial partners to contribute to the development of the technology.
Current sensors for continuous glucose monitoring are mainly based on enzyme-enhanced electrochemical reactions. Despite very sophisticated software algorithms, the interpretation of recorded data is problematic as current devices only measure glucose but not other physiological factors. Thus their use as part of implantable devices for closed-loop insulin delivery in diabetes still encounters limitations. Indeed, their design renders difficult to scope with changes induced by exercise, puberty, stress or menstrual cycle.
Former IECB team leader Prof. Jochen Lang, together with Prof. Bogdan Cartagi from the Bordeaux University Hospital and Prof. Sylvie Renaud from the Institut Polytechnique de Bordeaux (IPB/ENSEIRB-MATMECA) started in 2008 a collaboration to design a hybrid biosensor based on the electric activity of pancreaticβ-cells.They used microelectrode arrays and created hardware chips that automatically record and decode the activity of β-cells. Such a system offers a number of advantages for the monitoring of β-cells for drug discovery and toxicological screening. First, it provides online and real-time read-out of the electrical activity of these cells and avoids the necessity of large data storage. Second, it can be used for long-term monitoring over days to weeks and is based on a sensor - β-cells – which has been shaped during evolution and takes into account relevant biological parameters in addition to glucose. Such a device is therefore relevant for screening, quality control in the frame of islets and organ transplantation and could turn to be an invaluable tool to elaborate protocols for producing β-cells from stem cells. Finally, in the long term, combined with a device for insulin delivery, such a bio-electronic smart sensor could control an autonomous and continuous hormone replacement therapy in diabetic patients.
Contact: Jochen Lang : http://www.interbio-sudoe.eu/liste-partenaires.php?sessid=24edfcb22b0cb30f0073cc6a8e13da34&n=84&MotsATrouver=lang&TypeRech=1