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|Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 12:05 pm Post subject: Scientists hope to detect heart disease with nanotechnology
|UTHSC scientists hope to detect heart disease with nanotechnology
San Antonio's University of Texas Health Science Center is on the forefront of some research that could revolutionize the detection and treatment of heart disease.
Heart disease is the nation's top killer, accounting for 700,000 deaths each year and 40 percent of all health care costs.
But what if there was a way for doctors to know what's going on inside blood vessels before the problem is critical? That's the dream of a team of scientists lead by cardiologist Dr. Steven Bailey.
"What if you could tell when somebody was at risk for a stroke, or rupturing a vessel, or when their arteries in fact had blocked to the point that they needed something done? Could we have an impact on health care? And I think the answer, if we think about it, is clearly 'yes,'" he said.
The scientists are working with nanotechnology to create an implantable device that could measure blood flow and pressure. The idea is that a tiny piece of metal, undetectable by the body, would be inserted through a device much like an IV in an outpatient setting. The biosensor would then send real-time information to a device like a wristwatch.
It's a marriage of medicine and modern technology that's earned the project a $200,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation. While it will be many years before this microscopic monitoring device will be implanted in patients, doctors here are clearly excited at the possibility.
"These very tiny devices, unobtrusive in their nature, provide us with a very great opportunity for sensing and delivering what's going on," Bailey said.
Eight years of research have led to the point where the UTHSC is ready to prove these biosensors can work. By providing earlier diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, it's technology that could someday save many lives.
This story was first posted on 30th August 2006.