Time for Change?

Biosensing and biointerfaces aim to shake up diagnosis and treatment as we know it...

Making existing treatments smarter

Severe diabetes can be tough, with constant injections, a strict diet, and regular blood-sugar monitoring. It’s one of the major causes of death in developed countries [1] and a problem that’s getting increasingly worse over time [2]. If the body can no longer produce or use enough insulin, its blood sugar will spike – which can lead to more serious health issues [3]. What’s more, diabetes often goes undiagnosed, resulting in unexpected damage to the heart, eyes, nerves, kidneys, and other parts of the body.

Over the past few decades, this sneaky condition has kept my predecessors more than busy. And with the number of diabetes patients on the rise [1], they could do with a helping hand!

I hope to give healthcare veterans – like needles – a well-earned break. I belong to a group of tiny little helpers, which have the potential to monitor future diseases, detect issues early, and help treat chronic conditions – as and when they occur in the body [1].

 A bioelectric tag attached to a man which collects data and speaks to the body.  A bioelectric tag attached to a man which collects data and speaks to the body.

Getting on your nerves? That’s the idea!

Sometimes, small solutions are the key to big problems. Ideally, you won’t notice me at all, as it’ll be my job to remain inconspicuous. And although I’m not exactly new to the scene (my predecessors have often been used in labs to test blood and urine samples), I’ve been developed to become smaller and less invasive.

  A girl running using bioelectronic technology to collect information   A girl running using bioelectronic technology to collect information

Learning the electronic language of the body

Imagine a future where implants or on-body bioelectronic devices can regulate a patient’s glucose metabolism. Science is very close to making this vision a reality, but it requires further research and cross-departmental collaboration to really push the boundaries of this exciting field. Biologists, engineers, material scientists, and doctors are already hard at work – broadening their horizons and exploring these exciting, new ideas … in and outside our bodies.

If everything goes according to plan, we biosensors could play a role in improving people’s lives by the mid 2020s. We're hoping to create a digital revolution for patients, one that I can’t wait to be part of.

Thanks to our new data and sensing technologies, I could soon be very busy – diagnosing diabetes and other serious conditions!

My goal is to work toward revolutionizing the next generation of treatments. And thanks to its unique three-sector approach – serving electronics, health care, and life science – Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has been building capabilities in this field for decades, defining a wide range of health solutions to further improve disease detection rates.

Translating the biological language of our bodies to personalize more effective treatments.

We can imagine it. Can you?

[1] WHO. The top 10 causes of death. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/. Last accessed December 2018.

[2] International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edn. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. Available at: https://www.idf.org/e-library/epidemiology-research/diabetes-atlas. Last accessed December 2018.

[3] WHO Global report on diabetes 2016. Available at: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/204871/1/9789241565257_eng.pdf. Last accessed December 2018.



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