Every two months, Northeastern bioengineering graduate student David Walsh’s 91-year-old grandmother goes to the doctor to receive a drug injection into her eyes. She has wet age-related macular degeneration. There is no cure, only this invasive, recurring treatment.
“She worries a lot because she goes in, they inject her, and she leaves, and since the effect of the drugs is so gradual, she doesn’t know if it’s working or not,” said Walsh.
“She worries that maybe she got too much drug, not enough drug, or if the drug is doing anything at all for her condition.”
To solve this problem, Walsh is developing a device that will provide valuable feedback to patients such as his grandmother and their clinicians.
As a member of associate professor of chemical engineering Shashi Murthy’s lab, Walsh helps design microfluidic devices that use a single drop of blood or other bodily fluid to diagnose a range of diseases. In work recently reported in the journal Lab On a Chip, Walsh and his colleagues have created a device that monitors the efficacy of treatments for two eye diseases: age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy