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Sweat Monitoring: A New Frontier in Chronic Disease Management

January 29, 2024

Revolutionizing Inflammatory Bowel Disease Management with Cutting-Edge Wearable Technology: A Leap Towards Real-Time, Non-Invasive Monitoring and Insights Through Advanced Sweat Analysis

LAS VEGAS (By Jim Kling, MDedge News) Measuring disease status in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients generally requires invasive blood draws or procedures, but a novel wearable device shows initial promise at providing similar information from perspiration.

The device, in development by EnLiSense, can rapidly detect calprotectin, C-reactive protein (CRP), and interleukin-6 (IL-6), using miniaturized versions of biochemical lab tests.

Patient monitoring relies on identifying trends, whether biomarker levels are increasing or decreasing, according to Shalini Prasad, PhD, who presented the study during a poster session at the annual Crohn’s & Colitis Congress®, a partnership of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and the American Gastroenterological Association. “In a blood test you don’t get that unless you’re willing to sample every month. That’s the benefit [of the device],” said Dr. Prasad, professor of bioengineering at University of Texas at Dallas and a cofounder of

The project grew out of the involvement of EnLiSense with the Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority (BARDA). “We were tracking infections, and we were looking at inflammatory markers associated with infections: Cytokines and chemokines. We thought it was a natural pivot for us because the disease of inflammation is IBD,” said Dr. Prasad.

The device need only be worn when the physician determines the disease is in a variable state. The patient “will wear it for the duration of time as determined by the clinician,” said Dr. Prasad.

The watch face–sized device, typically worn on the forearm, absorbs sweat and performs automated biochemical analysis independently, then beams its findings to the cloud. “What you get back is concentration [of inflammatory biomarkers]. It is essentially trend line reporting of how the concentration is fluctuating over time for markers,” said Dr. Prasad.

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is supporting the company through its IBD Ventures program. EnLiSense is currently conducting a study tracking patients over 4 weeks to correlate biomarker concentrations in sweat with concentrations in stool.

A key remaining question is how long the device should be worn and during what clinical periods. The technology has the potential to provide too much information. “Just figuring the balance. We’re trying to find the right spot where it makes sense for both the clinician and the patient. This is something that is a work in progress. We don’t want this to be just like any other consumer wearable which gives you something but you’re not sure what it means,” said Dr. Prasad.

The study included 33 patients with IBD who were monitored between 40 and 130 minutes. The device measured levels of CRP, IL-6, and calprotectin. Serum samples were also measured the same day.

The researchers found higher levels of calprotectin among patients with active disease in perspiration (P = .0260), serum (P = .022), and in fecal samples (P = .0411). There were no significant differences between patients who are active and those in remission with respect to CRP levels in perspiration or serum, or IL-6 in perspiration. Serum Il-6 levels were higher in those with active disease.

There was no significant difference between serum and sweat calprotectin levels among patients who were active or in remission, but the median expression of IL-6 in perspiration was higher in the active group (P = .0016). In the active group, calprotectin was elevated in sweat, serum, and stool.

Levels of calprotectin measured in perspiration correlated with levels in the serum (R2 = 0.7195), as did CRP (R2 = 0.615) and IL-6 (R2 = 0.5411).

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