Since the survival of battlefield wounds often depends on the level of treatment within the first 30 minutes, Evgeny Katz of Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., and Joseph Wang of the University of California, San Diego are working on developing a 'field hospital on chip'- that would be worn by every soldier, and would be able to detect an injury and automatically administer the right medication.
"We have already designed bioelectrodes and biofuel cells responding to multiple biochemical signals in a logic way," said Katz, co-principal investigator on the project.
"In the future we could expect implantable devices controlled by physiological signals and responding to the needs of an organism, notably a human," Katz added.
The researchers are working on creating enzymes that can measure the biomarkers and provide the logic necessary to make a limited set of diagnoses based on several biological variables.
The system will monitor a soldier's sweat, tears or blood for biomarkers that signal common battlefield injuries such as trauma, shock, brain injury or fatigue and then automatically administer the proper medication.
"Since the majority of battlefield deaths occur within the first 30 minutes after injury, rapid diagnosis and treatment are crucial for enhancing the survival rate of injured soldiers," says Wang.
The researchers believe that the resulting enzyme-logic sense-and-treat system will revolutionize the monitoring and treatment of injured soldiers and will lead to dramatic improvements in their survival rate.