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  • Army Tests SpectRx Laser Technology
Jul 2003
NORCROSS, Ga., July 1 -- Using technology developed by SpectRx Inc., the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command is testing an innovative biosensor designed to measure combat readiness of soldiers in training. The biosensor is intended to provide field measurements of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in a soldier's interstitial fluid (ISF) and to monitor changes during physical combat training exercises.

IGF-1 is a metabolic hormone that, among other things, regulates the growth and repair of muscle tissue. Low levels of IGF-1 may indicate that a soldier's body may be overly stressed. ISF is a fluid through which nutrients pass from the bloodstream to cells. The SpectRx technology uses a small, handheld laser to reach the ISF by creating microscopic holes, or micropores, in the outer layer of dead skin. This technology allows the ISF to be tested with a small sensor patch worn over the micropores, without drawing blood. If the program is successful, SpectRx said it plans to commercialize the technology for both military and general healthcare purposes.

The research initiative is part of the Army's Technologies in Metabolic Monitoring Research Program. The US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine will develop and manage these studies under the direction of Bradley C. Nindl, PhD. Nindl said, "The SpectRx biosensor is a user-friendly way for us to evaluate the value of IGF-1 in these studies."

Scientists at SpectRx said monitoring IGF-1 may also be useful in diagnosing and treating children with growth deficiencies and certain bone illnesses. SpectRx is applying this technology to measure other substances, including glucose levels for people with diabetes.

"We continue to find innovative uses for our painless, laser-based ISF technology and believe that it will become a major platform for monitoring human health," said Mark A. Samuels, chairman and CEO of SpectRx.

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