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Noninvasive Device Can ‘Read the Blood Through the Skin’ to Measure Hemoglobin in Real-Time

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 02 Nov 2021
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Image: From left, Alexandra Hansard, Sanjay Gokhale and George Alexandrakis (Photo courtesy of The University of Texas at Arlington)
Image: From left, Alexandra Hansard, Sanjay Gokhale and George Alexandrakis (Photo courtesy of The University of Texas at Arlington)

A team of bioengineers and scientists has developed a new noninvasive technology that may help real-time monitoring of key blood parameters, such as hemoglobin, especially in Black patients.

The wearable device developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington (Arlington, TX, USA) in collaboration with Shani Biotechnologies, LLC, could reduce racial disparities in blood measurements. Most currently available methods for monitoring hemoglobin require blood samples and expensive equipment. The available noninvasive spectroscopic methods have a high degree of variability and often are inaccurate in people of color due to differences in skin melanin. There is a significant unmet need for a reliable, noninvasive device to estimate hemoglobin, irrespective of skin color.

The researchers came up with the idea of developing a wearable device, such as a watch or a monitor, “that would read the blood through the skin.” The new device relies on the spectroscopic properties of hemoglobin in the blue-green light spectra, as opposed to the red-infrared spectra currently used in similar devices. The device is easy to use, utilizing a probe that is placed on the skin and measures reflected light from the skin. The team evaluated the novel device in more than 30 participants. They compared the hemoglobin values measured by the device to those measured by currently available point-of-care devices, as well as through standard blood tests. Preliminary results suggest the device can estimate hemoglobin with better accuracy and consistency than currently available comparable methods.

“We are planning larger studies in a variety of patient populations to advance the clinical development of the device,” said Vinoop Daggubati, MD, CEO of Shani Biotechnologies. “The technology has massive potential in health care settings, remote monitoring and embodiment into wearables. We are committed to closing the racial disparity in these diagnostic modalities to provide better care for African Americans, Hispanics and people of color. Our technology is a steppingstone toward achieving that goal.”

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The University of Texas at Arlington 

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