Profusa bags grant to co-develop wearable oxygen monitor

Profusa wants to replace its “bulky cabled optical reader” with a wearable patch.

Profusa and North Carolina State University's ASSIST Center have secured funding to co-develop a wearable wireless oxygen monitor. The goal is to create a bandage-like product for the continuous monitoring of tissue oxygen levels before, during and after treatment for peripheral artery disease (PAD).

South San Francisco, CA-based Profusa secured the $1.5 million NIH grant on the strength of its biosensor technology and the potential for it to be improved through combination with ASSIST’s thin-film electronics capabilities.

Profusa has already developed a CE-marked device for monitoring local tissue oxygen in patients with PAD before, during and after endovascular revascularization. Knowledge of oxygen levels in the feet of PAD patients is important given the restricted blood supply that characterizes the condition. Data from a 10-patient study suggest the existing Lumee Oxygen Platform effectively reports local tissue oxygen concentrations, potentially helping physicians to intervene before a situation deteriorates to the point that amputation is the best option.

However, as Profusa wrote in its grant abstract, Lumee relies on a “bulky cabled optical reader.” As such, Profusa sees value in pairing its oxygen-monitoring biosensor implants with a more compact reader. Such a reader could provide a continuous stream of oxygen data to physicians without significantly impinging on the lives of patients.

This is where ASSIST comes in. ASSIST, an acronym for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies, is a National Science Foundation-sponsored group focused on battery-free wearable monitoring systems. By tapping into ASSIST’s thin-film electronics skills, Profusa thinks it can replace Lumee’s bulky optical reader with a wearable patch.

The first task is to convert the optical reader into a flexible wearable. Beyond that, Profusa plans to put the redesigned reader through in vitro and, assuming that goes well, clinical testing to assess its safety, wearability and function.