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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X013251/1
Title: A multiplexed micro-suction biomarker extraction device to understand atopic eczema in babies
Principal Investigator: Jones, Dr SA
Other Investigators:
Flohr, Professor C Albed Alhnan, Dr M D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Pharmaceutical Sciences
Organisation: Kings College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 31 January 2023 Ends: 30 January 2026 Value (£): 1,047,188
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomedical sciences Instrumentation Eng. & Dev.
Medical science & disease
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
EP/X013294/1
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Sep 2022 Healthcare Technologies Investigator Led Panel Sept 2022 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Underneath the skin, there are two superhighways of chemical information. One of these is the blood, which is sampled using a needle, and the chemical information taken from it is used to understand, diagnose and treat disease. The second, the interstitial fluid, contains more detectable chemical signals compared to the blood, but it is not currently used in clinical practice to diagnose or treat disease because it is difficult to sample.

In this project, a new, needle-free prototype medical device that has been shown in humans to extract interstitial fluid through skin stretching will be developed to the point that it can be used in clinical practice. The innovative aspect of the device is its use of hypobaric pressure to stretch the skin tissue in a manner that remodels collagen, opens skin appendages, and selectively extracts skin interstitial fluid. The initial development will occur using healthy adults as the test subjects and the device will pass through four developmental prototyping phases to optimise its ability to extract biomarkers. The types and levels of biomarkers extracted from the skin will be determined using mass spectrometry and these chemical signals will be compared to those in the blood. With the aid of a novel integrated mathematical model of skin stretching and interstitial fluid extraction, the new medical device will be specifically adapted and scaled for use in babies. The transition from adults to babies will be aided through pilot tolerability studies and then the new medical device will be employed to extract biomarkers from lesioned and non-lesioned skin of babies with atopic eczema.

The outcomes of the work will include, a new medical device for the extraction of skin interstitial fluid, a new mathematical model of skin fluid extraction that can be used to optimise the device for a range of medical needs, and the first insight into how chemical signals change in babies upon the development of atopic eczema in their first months of life.

Key Findings
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