Northwestern University researchers connected with the Rogers Research Group have fabricated an implantable and wearable bio-sensor which can monitor for early signs of kidney transplant rejection.

Smaller than a pinky fingernail and as thin as a single hair, the soft sensor sits directly on the kidney to detect signs of rejection and monitors the health of transplanted organs in real time.

The sensors and associated miniature devices are fabricated using a LPKF ProtoLaser.

The wireless technology senses warning signs up to three weeks earlier than current methods!

This extra time could enable doctors to intervene sooner, improving patient outcomes and wellbeing as well as increasing the odds of preserving donated organs, which are increasingly precious due to rising demand amid an organ-shortage crisis.

The ultrathin, soft implant can detect temperature irregularities associated with inflammation and other body responses that arise with transplant rejection. Then, it alerts the patient or physician by wirelessly streaming data to a nearby smartphone or tablet.

Rejection can occur at any time after a transplant — immediately after the transplant or years down the road. It is often silent, and patients might not experience symptoms.

If rejection is detected early, physicians can deliver anti-rejection therapies to improve the patient’s health and prevent them from losing the donated organ.  In worst-case scenarios, if rejection is ignored, it could be life threatening. The earlier you can catch rejection and engage therapies, the better.