The Waterloo, Canada-based startup NERv is developing an implantable biosensor chip designed to detect postoperative complications. The small chip, made entire out of biocompatible and biodegradable materials, is designed to be placed inside the body at the end of the operation, prior to closure. It continuously collects data and is able to detect many of the most common postoperative complications, including internal bleeding, ischemia, dangerous inflammation, septic shocks, blood poisoning, and staple line breakage. The data is sent to a receiver located in a trans-dermal patch placed on the wound after surgery, and is further transmitted to the physician in order to assess critical changes in the human body. When a complication is detected, the receiver also alerts the patient in order to seek medical attention.
For an entire month, the innovative biosensor is capable of determining what kind, the location, as well as the severity of the complication before it starts to biodegrade. This help physicians to immediately identify patients with complications, not only reducing healthcare costs, but significantly improving health outcomes. Currently, no other technology can accurately identify postoperative complications, although medical imaging, such as CT and MRI, can be used. However, these techniques require the patient to show symptoms before they can identify type and location of complication, and even then their accuracy is low. NERv is predictive, real-time and more efficient than the current alternatives on the market, highlighting its huge life saving potential.
NERv, co-founded by Youssef Helwa and Amr Abdelgawad, was one of the first members of the Velocity Science program. The startup has previously won the Norman Esch Award and the Engineer of the Future Trust Award at University of Waterloo, and is currently a semi-finalist at OneStart, the world’s largest accelerator for startups seeking to dramatically improve human health. The disruptive technology is set to be tested in animals.