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Sensors in Diagnostics: A Preview of the Sensors Summit

October 17, 2019 | Sensors are revolutionizing healthcare and the presenters at the Sensors Summit 2019 are taking three days, December 10-12, to show you just how much. From wearable sensors that provide continuous real-time biometric monitoring to point-of-care rapid diagnostics, sensor technology is poised to profoundly benefit both patient and healthcare provider. While sensors are on track to influence the future of healthcare, they come with unique challenges from design to integration. If the diagnostic potential of sensors in healthcare appeals to you, here are a few of the speakers you'll want to catch while you're there. –The Editors

The mornings start off with Plenary Sessions and two are of special interest.

Wednesday morning at 8:30 learn how continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) has changed daily life for diabetics. Peter Simpson, Vice President of Sensor R&D and Advanced Technology at Dexcom, will present an overview of Dexcom's CGM sensor technology, including its function in digital health and in artificial pancreas systems. He will also offer a sneak peek at upcoming products.

Later that morning, let Joseph Wang, Distinguished Professor & Chair of Nanoengineering at University of California, San Diego, tell you what's new in the field of wearables. At 9:30 learn about new, non-invasive electrochemical sensors worn on the skin or in the mouth, in particular sensors that detect metabolites and electrolytes.

If wearables interest you, come back Thursday at 11:30. Paul Galvin, Head of ICT for Health Strategic Programs at Tyndall National Institute, will address what challenges still exist for sensor design, tell you what's on the horizon for sensors, and what he thinks are the best in sensor systems.

Mohan Thanikachalam, Public Health & Community Medicine at Tufts University, will also be on hand to tell you about a new wearable offering, ViTrack. This wrist-wearable cNIBP monitor utilizes a novel optical sensor and proprietary methodology for self-calibration and continuous tracking. Hear more Thursday afternoon at 3:30.

Something exciting on the horizon is the potential for cancer detection using micro Raman spectroscopy. Raman spectroscopy has shown promise as an investigative and diagnostic tool capable of providing quantifiable data for diagnosis and treatment evaluation. Join Gregory Auner, Professor, Director, Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems Program at Wayne State University, at 10:00 Thursday morning to learn more.

Lisa Diamond, CEO of Pinpoint Science, wants you to know that Pinpoint Science has the technology for low-cost detection of viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens. Stop by at 11:00 am on Thursday and let her explain how nano-sensor technology allows for analysis from antibodies, oligonucleotides, aptamers and nanobodies. In seconds, this novel technology can detect and quantify pathogens in point-of-care settings. Diamond will also be moderating a roundtable discussion Tuesday morning. Find her at Table 1 at 10:30 where the discussion will focus on the role of biosensors in addressing global health challenges.

Tuesday morning at 11:30, Disha B. Sheth, DexCom, will discuss what challenges remain for those working to perfect continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). Non-adjunctive-use and zero calibrations with CGMs represent significant strides for patients and for sensor technology. However, there is work yet to be done. Sheth will tell you how scientists think they can solve remaining problems.

Although biosensors have become part of healthcare and add many benefits, they are not without issue. Sensors are rarely re-usable and may even fail in accuracy. Wednesday at 2:30 pm Prasad Pamidi, Director Sensor Development, Instrumentation Lab at Werfen Company, will provide an overview of current challenges in development, as well as solutions to creating sensors that better meet the needs of patients and providers.

While the use of sensors to measure heart rate or physical activity is no longer novel, Gavi Begtrup, CEO at Eccrine Systems, will explore a cutting-edge application in the pharmaceutical branch of healthcare. Come on Tuesday, 2:00 pm, to learn how sweat bio-sensing for medication monitoring may allow doctors to tailor precision doses to individual patients. (For some background on sweat sensing, see "What Can Skin—and Sweat—Really Tell Us?")

If you don't already know that your breath can tell more about you than what you had for lunch, or if you're over the legal limit, you may want to sit down for this presentation. Sterghios A. Moschos, Northumbria University, and his team have developed a handheld breath-capture device they believe capable of detecting and analyzing microorganisms from deep in the lung with a sample obtained non-invasively from the breath. His talk starts at 2:00 pm on Thursday.

The stuff you spit out in the sink is full of useful information; it may even save you a trip to the doctor's office. Because biomarkers for disease can be identified in saliva it's useful for detecting illness, but more than that, saliva can be used to monitor basic physiological health data. Manesh Kalayil Manian, Research & Development Lead at Traq, will tell you how Traq is combining the properties of saliva with portable biosensors to create a new synergy to benefit patients and healthcare providers. It's at 4:00 pm on Thursday.

Inflammation is a core feature of many illnesses; unfortunately, it is also quite subjective. If inflammation could be objectively quantified, it could lead to improvements in multiple areas of patient satisfaction. To this end, George Duval, Principal Engineer, Endoscopy R&D at Boston Scientific Corp., has been researching sensing technologies to quantify inflammation. He will present what he's learned, with a focus on inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal system at 2:30 pm on Wednesday.

Nick Van Helleputte, Biomedical Circuits & Systems, wants you to know that the gastrointestinal system is not as inaccessible as you might think, or at least not with the help of ingestibles and minimally invasive insertables. That's a good thing since metabolic health is declining around the world. The GI system is a complex one; luckily recent advances in technology are making it easier to find out what's going on in there. Find out more at 3:00 pm on Wednesday.

Don't forget about the roundtables or the tutorials while you're there. They all promise to be exciting, but here are a few you don't want to miss. Roundtable discussions start at 10:30 Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday Lisa Diamond, CEO of Pinpoint Science, LLC, will moderate a roundtable discussion covering multiple topics relating to health and biosensors. The group will tackle big questions about the potential of biosensors in the face of global health threats, as well as how biosensors can impact daily life. She'll be at Table 1.

Wednesday sit down with Ashish V. Pattekar, Principal Scientist at PARC, a Xerox Company, to find out more about next-gen physiological monitoring systems. Hear what they'll look like and what technologies need to be developed. Discover which questions the scientists creating these systems together are asking themselves as they work. Join in at Table 4.

Most of this technology is powered by something we often take for granted­—batteries. Shmuel De-Leon, CEO of Shmuel De-Leon Energy, Ltd, is offering a refresher course on batteries, particularly implantable batteries and non-implantable miniature primary and rechargeable batteries for medical devices. The tutorial will also address safe handling of medical batteries. It starts Tuesday at 4:00 pm.

Wednesday from 4-6 pm YuFeng Yvonne Chan, Associate Professor & Director Digital Health, Genetics & Genomic Sciences & Emergency Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Maurizio Macagno, CTO & Co-Founder of Sensoria, Inc, are giving a tutorial presentation on digital health. Dr Chan is the principal investigator of The Mount Sinai Asthma Mobile Health Study. This virtual research study of more than 10,000 participants, and its findings, will be the focus of her presentation. Macagno will explain how remote monitoring is making both patients and providers happy. Learn more about how sensors have allowed the aging population greater independence and improved healthcare for the homebound.

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