2021 journal article
Soft, skin-interfaced sweat stickers for cystic fibrosis diagnosis and management
Science Translational Medicine, 13(587).
The concentration of chloride in sweat remains the most robust biomarker for confirmatory diagnosis of cystic fibrosis (CF), a common life-shortening genetic disorder. Early diagnosis via quantitative assessment of sweat chloride allows prompt initiation of care and is critically important to extend life expectancy and improve quality of life. The collection and analysis of sweat using conventional wrist-strapped devices and iontophoresis can be cumbersome, particularly for infants with fragile skin, who often have insufficient sweat production. Here, we introduce a soft, epidermal microfluidic device ("sweat sticker") designed for the simple and rapid collection and analysis of sweat. Intimate, conformal coupling with the skin supports nearly perfect efficiency in sweat collection without leakage. Real-time image analysis of chloride reagents allows for quantitative assessment of chloride concentrations using a smartphone camera, without requiring extraction of sweat or external analysis. Clinical validation studies involving patients with CF and healthy subjects, across a spectrum of age groups, support clinical equivalence compared to existing device platforms in terms of accuracy and demonstrate meaningful reductions in rates of leakage. The wearable microfluidic technologies and smartphone-based analytics reported here establish the foundation for diagnosis of CF outside of clinical settings.