Managing rheumatic disease, by measuring with ease

SensUs 2019 challenges student teams to develop innovative biosensing systems for the measurement of adalimumab, a biological drug that is prescribed to patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA affects around 1% of the world population. Disease onset is most frequent during middle age and women are affected 2.5 times as frequently as men. Measurement of adalimumab concentrations will enable more efficient and effective management of the disease.

This page explains more about rheumatoid arthritis, adalimumab and the SensUs 2019 contest.


What is rheumatoid arthritis?

RA is a chronic inflammatory disorder that is characterized by inflammation of the synovium of small joints, like the hands and feet, which leads to the destruction of articular cartilage and bone. It can eventually produce severe morbidity and increased mortality. The cause of the disorder is not well understood, but the overexpression of proinflammatory cytokines plays an important role. One pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays a key role in RA is TNF-alpha.

Hand pain


The biomarker for SensUs 2019 is adalimumab. Adalimumab blocks the activity of the cytokine TNF-alpha. This decreases the inflammation and the pain experienced by the RA patient.

Read more about adalimumab on our wiki.


What is the relevance of biosensing?

Adalimumab controls rather than cures RA and the management of RA is an iterative process, as patients have to be periodically assessed by their physician. Currently, adalimumab concentrations are not measured often and results can take up to one week. Biosensing could ease and speed up this process.

As adalimumab affects the immune system and can reduce the body’s ability to fight infections, biosensing could ensure effective treatment with as little side effects as possible.

Many patients do not respond to treatment with adalimumab or lose response during treatment. Biosensing technologies could identify possible non-responders at an early stage and thereby prevent unnecessary treatment.


SensUs Contest 2019

The contest will take place on the 30th of August. All participating teams will come to the SensUs Innovation Days in Eindhoven, in order to demonstrate their biosensors and their entrepreneurial ideas to the world! It will be an exciting contest between teams of 14 universities from USA, Canada, China, Egypt and 10 countries in Europe. Get inspired by the teams and their innovations!