Prof. Haick is bringing his revolutionary diagnostic patch technology to stress management, with the support of a Joy Ventures grant.
Stress is nothing short of a modern epidemic, affecting an estimated 7.8 billion people worldwide. As rates of stress continue to trend upwards, innovators from the scientific and tech community have turned their attention towards developing effective and scalable solutions that address this critical issue.
Technion professor Hossam Haick is one such innovator leading the charge with his groundbreaking technology. A world-renowned expert in the field of nanotechnology and non-invasive disease diagnosis, Prof. Haick invented a breakthrough “tattoo,” or patch, which he’s now developing for stress diagnostics. We spoke with Prof. Haick to better understand the inspiration and background of the patch, and the potential it holds to help the billions of people suffering from stress.
“My work on the patch was originally in the arena of tuberculosis,” explains Prof. Haick. “Years ago, I was driving through a very poor area in Mumbai, India. The people there live on less than $1 a day and have no electricity or water. TB is a big killer there, claiming around 480,000 lives a year. Coming from my background in non-invasive diagnostics I tried to think what an inexpensive way could be to diagnose extensively. That’s how the patch originally came about.”
Prof. Haick’s patch is a tiny, sticker-like element, only 2 micrometers thick. The patch for TB diagnosis was supported by the Gates Foundation and was actually rated among the top projects supported by the foundation, leading to face-to-face meetings with Bill Gates (“he’s surprisingly modest, very well-versed and interested in diagnostics,” says Prof. Haick). The TB patch technology is already supported by a European Commission Consortium for advanced stages of technology readiness levels.
Now that the patch for TB diagnostics is “out in the world,” Prof. Haick turned to new uses for the technology. “Stress – especially in severe forms like PTSD and anxiety – is debilitating for hundreds of millions of people. There’s an economic impact as well, with $600 billion a year lost due to stress-related causes in the U.S. alone,” explains Prof. Haick.
The version of the patch in development is an improvement on previous iterations which used to degrade and needed to be replaced every few weeks. The current version is self-healing, like real skin, and can be used for years (the technology behind this has already been published in medical journals).
Prof. Haick explains that the patch can be a real game-changer in stress diagnostics:
“Currently stress diagnostics is done through questionnaires or clinical observation, very flawed techniques. The patch is able to detect chemical markers released by blood chemistry in times of stress, a much more exact and reliable proof. The data is then relayed, and the patient can be treated much more effectively, through either medication or engagement – even through a smart phone – or a combination of both.”
“We’re very excited to be supporting this project and to be working with a scientist of Prof. Haick’s caliber,” says Miri Polachek, Joy Ventures’ CEO. “This project is a perfect example of the great things that can happen when cutting edge technology and academic research join to find viable, effective solutions for some of humanity’s most pressing emotional wellness challenges.”
Click here for more information about the Joy Ventures academic grant program.