Theranostic Implants IMS

Development of a theranostic implant for telemetric monitoring of haemodynamics.

Development of Theranostic Implants at IMS

Fraunhofer IMS researches actively in the successful development of theranostic implants that include diagnosis and therapy. This is illustrated by a demonstrator for telemetric monitoring of haemodynamics.

Fraunhofer lead project: “Theranostic Implants”

Illustration of the concept for a theranostic implant
© Fraunhofer IMS
System concept of a theranostic implant for hemodynamic controlling

Currently, purely passive implants are dominating, for example bone plates. Intelligent “Theranostic Implants” are gaining more and more importance, because they combine diagnostics and therapy in one medical product. They measure vital parameters in a closed loop and take therapeutic measures on that basis. Theranostic implants have to operate inside a body over many years in a stable manner even though they are impacted by the steadily growing cells in a warm and humid environment. This presents a great challenge for the development of highly complex systems comprised of sensors and actuators that should be as small as possible. The choice of the three demonstrators was geared towards diseases that cause a high share in the German healthcare system. This includes cardiovascular diseases, diseases in the skeleton and neuromuscular disorders.

Theranostic sensor implant for monitoring of blood circulation

Image of the telemetric operation of a theranostic implant.
© Fraunhofer IMS
Image of the telemetric operation of a theranostic implant with data logging and power transmission
Image of the realized theranostic implant which is built as a multisensor on a ceramic circuit board
© Fraunhofer IMS
Realized theranostic implant that is built as a multisensory on a ceramic circuit board

In this subproject seven Fraunhofer institutes have joint forces to develop a multisensor implant for the monitoring of blood circulation.

To treat patients with blood circulation diseases, for example high blood pressure, a long-term monitoring of the blood pressure in the heart vessels is necessary. The current standard of pressure monitoring is only a short-term solution and only possible in intensive care using catheters. These procedures pose a risk of infection and can lead to complications. Thus, they are not suitable for long-term monitoring.

The challenge for the researchers was to develop intelligent sensors using microsystem technological processes and encapsulating them in a way that allows the theranostic implant to stay inside of the body permanently. The energy supply for the measured value acquisition of the implant is carried out telemetrically. The required electric field for wireless data transmission is used simultaneously to provide the implant with the needed energy.

In addition to the blood pressure, other measurement data, such as acceleration and temperature, are supposed to be transmitted outside of the body. With the knowledge obtained medicinal treatment can be optimized, and early diagnosis and improvement of the disease progression are possible. Hospital stays and high treatment costs can be reduced this way.

According to Health Monitoring 2017 of the Robert-Koch Institute in Berlin the amount of German adults with diagnosed high blood pressure is at 31.8 percent. Despite of medication, the blood pressure value of every third patient concerned is not optimal. Therefore, long-term monitoring of hemodynamic parameters is gaining increasing importance in the ageing population.

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