Stimulating innovation and education on biosensors for health


(Author: Suzanne Ansems, Third year Biomedical Engineering student at the Eindhoven University of Technology)

We monitor how well we eat, how long we sleep and how many steps we take. In an increasingly digitized world, we are becoming more active participants in our own personal health. However, when we are ill, we still often receive healthcare as if ‘one size fits all’, without taking full account of the differences between people or of fluctuations over time.

What if we could easily monitor how our body functions, and how our body changes over time, by measuring from the inside? What if we could measure, at any moment in time, specific molecules in a tiny drop of blood, to get the information we need? This calls for the development of molecular biosensors. Sensors that can measure how we are doing from the inside. In order to optimize personal treatments, reduce the number of visits to the hospital, and give people control over their own lives. A common method used in molecular biosensors is lateral flow, an area that Bronkhorst specializes in, therefore Bronkhorst became a partner this year. Through their expertise, they can help us stimulate innovation in the field of biosensing.

(Source: SensUs)

The SensUs organization stimulates innovation and education in the field of biosensing by involving students, industry, patients and healthcare professionals. We have recently become the twelfth student team of Eindhoven University of Technology. The organization was founded 4 years ago by prof. Menno Prins and a group of students at Eindhoven University of Technology. The competition underwent a tremendous growth since it has started.

Each year, a societally impactful healthcare theme and a corresponding biomarker are addressed. Multidisciplinary student teams from renowned universities worldwide develop novel prototypes for the detection of the selected biomarker. The theme of SensUs 2019 is ‘Managing rheumatic disease by measuring with ease’. SensUs 2019 challenges 14 teams to develop innovative biosensing systems for the detection of the anti-inflammatory drug adalimumab. Adalimumab is used for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis experience constant pain and difficulty with everyday chores. Adalimumab relieves the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by suppressing the body’s defence system and inhibiting inflammation. Adalimumab is a very expensive biological drug and the largest selling pharmaceutical drug worldwide. However, it is not for every patient an adequate treatment. Patients may not have benefits or may even lose treatment benefits over time. A biosensor that can precisely measure the level of adalimumab in the blood will be of great value to manage rheumatic disease.

(Source: SensUs)
(Source: SensUs)

We started off by organizing the annual student competition on biosensors, but we are now growing into a worldwide network within the field of biosensing. We believe that collaboration and information sharing on a worldwide scale is very important for innovation in the field of biosensors. We strive to be a platform for open innovation and to stimulate communication between all stakeholders and the competing teams. Our partners play an important role in this network. Competing teams can learn from our partners collaborate with them in building their biosensor. Bronkhorst specializes in flow meters and other fluidics technologies, which are of significant importance in future biosensors. Bronkhorst can share their knowledge on lateral flow with the competing teams, which can contact Bronkhorst throughout the year for support in the challenges they face when developing their prototype. During the SensUs innovation days the teams can get in personal contact with Bronkhorst. They will host a workshop and give pitches for interested students. During the contest event Bronkhorst will be visible with their stand where they can inform the visitors about a vital component of a biosensor.

We are happy that Bronkhorst has become a partner of SensUs. We hope that Bronkhorst will benefit from the SensUs network and can help to stimulate education and innovation in the field of biosensing.

SensUs website

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