Technology Update: Moving Towards a Self-Sensing Shunt

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The Hydrocephalus Association (HA) submits letters of support for grant applications and other activities that have the potential to benefit the hydrocephalus patient community. Recently, a letter of support was submitted for Senseer, a Los Angeles-based medical device company, which applied for funding to support the development of a “smart shunt”. We are happy to report that the National Science Foundation (NSF) responded by granting Senseer with the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant, totaling $225,000 for a period of six months. 

The Goal

A prototype of Senseer’s “smart shunt.”

Senseer is developing a wirelessly operated multi-sensor module that can be integrated into current standard shunt therapies, allowing for remote monitoring of shunt status, therapeutic efficacy, and patient health. This means that a doctor would be able to monitor a patient’s shunt status in real-time in an outpatient setting.

What the Microsensors Will Measure

The microsensors are designed to measure five things:

(1) level of shunt obstruction (patency),

(2) cerebrospinal fluid flow rate,

(3) intracranial pressure,

(4) intracranial temperature, and

(5) cerebrospinal fluid pulse waveforms.

To date, pre-existing sensor technologies measure only a single parameter, which is insufficient to provide reliable and clinically actionable data. Therefore, Senseer’s approach uses multiple sensors to ensure greater accuracy. 

Sascha Lee, Senseer’s CEO, is excited about this technology and the potential benefits for patients and families.

“Remote monitoring for chronic disease treatment is a rapidly growing field which will have a huge impact on clinical practice in the US. Our team’s goal of developing a wireless, passive sensor module, which can be chronically implanted in the human body, shows great promise for improving the treatment of hydrocephalus and other chronic conditions. As hydrocephalus is a particularly underserved condition that could see huge benefit from remote monitoring, our team is extremely enthusiastic about serving this patient population as the primary market for our technology,” he said.

To read more about the grant, please click here.

12 Comments for : Technology Update: Moving Towards a Self-Sensing Shunt
  1. I’m an RN with IIH, is this just in the trial phases yet ? Has it been placed in patients? I would be interested in promoting this if it would be placed in me… I have a VP Shunt… I had an LP Shunt that had to be removed due to Overdrainanage….

    • Janet Miller
    • August 15, 2019

    What protocols are in place to prevent outside interference with a device implanted in a person? Although the abstract focuses on some positive aspects of this device, if there aren’t strict controls, it could become dangerous in “wrong” hands.

  2. This technology is amazing as one who lives with an hydrocephalus vp shunt. It would be great if there was more things we could do for the disease besides brain surgery.

    • Faizan Fareed
    • August 8, 2019

    Is this available for my child ?

    • Isha Brown
    • August 8, 2019

    This sounds like it could be an even greater benefit to the standard diagnostic testing, such as, Shunt Series of Xrays, CT Scan or MRI! It sounds like this would show more of what exactly is going on with a shunt that is possibly malfunctioning.
    Would this module be available for both Fixed Valve or Programmable Shunt? I would be interested in this kind of device with my Fixed Valve VP Shunt.

    • Duncan
    • August 8, 2019

    Where are these being tested? Do they need people to test with? I would be 1st in line for human testing if they need somebody?

    • Margaret Reeves
    • August 8, 2019

    Can someone who has had an original shunt since 1978, since birth or at young age get one of these!?

    ~ A concerned wife!

    • Melody
    • August 6, 2019

    No! If this is wireless hydrocephalus is the least of your worries. You will fry your brain with microwaves. Not my son!

    • Heather fern
    • August 6, 2019

    I have been a hydrocephalaus patient since age 14 I’ve had many revisions my last brain surgery was 4 yrs ago
    How can I be a candidate on trying out this new shunt ?
    I still suffer from pressure headaches ?!

    • Jennifer Morrell
    • August 6, 2019

    This is an amazing idea. I’ve gotten really good at watching my youngest for shunt malfunction symptoms but it would be great if we knew far enough ahead that she didn’t get sick with headaches and vomiting, before we know it’s failing.

    • Cathy Ramos
    • August 6, 2019

    I was recently diagnosed
    with severe congenital hydrocephalus and my life as changed so much since with having to deal with extreme pain, blurry vision and dizziness. This news gives me hope because my NS decided to put on hold as long as I can for a surgery to place a shunt due to the complications these present after surgery. Can’t wait to feel relieved from this pain with a much more reliable option.

    • Mary Krier
    • August 6, 2019

    This new technology has me VERY INTERESTED” I was diagnosed with DWS/Congenital Hydrocephalus 37 yrs ago. After 10 yrs working as a general surgery nurse and numerous shunt revisions, I had to give up that profession. I actively look for improvements in shunt and pray for a cure.

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