Real-time continuous in vivo drug monitoring

Dear All: 

I recently became aware of a technology for real-time continuous in vivo monitoring of drug levels that I thought worth sharing with the broader community. Although we’ve for many years had continuous measures of analytes such as glucose or oxygen where simple chemistry gave a suitable measurement tool, measurement of arbitrary analytes has not previously been something that could be readily achieved.

As described in a new PNAS paper by Arroyo-Currás et al., there is now a technology that addresses this challenge. The idea starts with noting that aptamers (oligonucleotides with high affinity for specific molecules) undergo a conformational change when they bind their target. This change can be detected electrochemically if the aptamer is bound to a suitable electrode. In addition, Jennifer Hoover (GSK) and Kevin Plaxco (originator of the technology) have written a white paper that you can review for additional details.

While we’ve managed to work for many years with blood level monitoring using the sample-and-test strategy, the idea of being able to get instant levels is fascinating and might simplify some aspects of drug R&D. Many thanks for Jenn & Kevin for bringing this to my attention. Kevin would be happy to be contacted at if you’d like to explore ways to collaborate with him.

All best wishes, –jr

John H. Rex, MD | Chief Medical Officer, F2G Ltd. | Chief Strategy Officer, CARB-X | Expert-in-Residence, Wellcome Trust. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnRex_NewAbx. See past newsletters and subscribe for the future:

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