Ultra-thin Battery Tech Detects Infection in Cancer Patients

May 24, 2022 by Mike Falter

Blue Spark Technologies will employ its TempTraq temperature monitoring patch, which is powered by the company's thin carbon-zinc battery technology, in a medical study investigating early fever detection in cancer patients.

Battling cancer is challenging.  Among the many obstacles, cancer patients who are being treated with chemotherapy have an increased chance of developing infections.  This is because the disease, along with chemotherapy treatments, reduces a patient’s white blood cell count and their ability to fight off infection.  An early symptom of infection is elevated patient temperature. 

Enter TempTraq, a single-use, temperature monitoring patch from Blue Spark Technologies that is powered by their thin carbon-zinc battery technology.  In a partnership announced this past April with Carevive Systems (a provider of cancer care management platforms), TempTraq will be used in a study to investigate how early fever detection can be used by clinicians to identify infections and achieve better outcomes for their cancer patients. 


TempTraq's layout and footprint. Image used courtesy of Blue Spark Technologies

Per Ruth Phillips, Blue Spark’s director of medical affairs, “TempTraq has been clinically proven to detect fevers hours before the standard of care in high-risk chemotherapy treatments, bone marrow transplants and CAR-T’s, and those hours are critical in this patient population."  


Blue Spark and the TempTraq Temperature Monitor Patch

Based in Westlake, Ohio, Blue Spark was founded in 2003 with patented technology and leadership experience from Eveready Battery Company.  More than just a supplier of thin battery products and technologies, Blue Spark has pursued vertical product integrations with their technology in products like TempTraq.  Other applications for their printed carbon-zinc battery solutions include interactive greeting cards, sensor and data logging systems, and radio frequency (RF)-enabled cards or tags designed to track products. 

TempTraq is an FDA-cleared Class II, single-use/disposable temperature monitoring patch with up to 72 hours of operating life.  The patch is applied in the under-the-arm area (“axillary” temperature) using a safe and gentle adhesive. Temperature data is monitored and transmitted continuously via Bluetooth to a smart phone and collected by the TempTraq App.  Temperature data is sent to the TempTraq Connect cloud service, where clinicians may view the data.


The Bigger Picture

TempTraq is part of the larger trend of wearable devices that provide physiological monitoring for health, wellness and clinical applications.  Watches, wrist bands, rings, patches and credit cards are all device form factors that we can now use to process physiological signals and tell us how our bodies are performing on a 24/7 basis.


Thin Battery Solutions

Details on the thin-printed battery technology powering the TempTraq are available at the company website. 

Within the UT (Ultra-Thin) Series there are several models with varying voltage, size and input capacity.  All models have a height of 625 microns (a standard credit card is 760 microns thick).  The battery type is carbon-zinc (primary cell - non-rechargeable) and is environmentally friendly with no heavy metal components, such as mercury, lead or cadmium. 


BlueSpark's UT Series offerings. Image used courtesy of Blue Spark Technologies 


In addition to “off the shelf” solutions, the products may be customized for specific applications.


Recent Funding for Growth

Following the Carevive oncology study announcement, Blue Spark also announced $40M in debt funding (intellectual property-based) from Ghost Tree Partners, along with support from Aon plc (AON).  This funding will be used to support their product development and market growth strategy.  According to Crunchbase, the company has raised $66M in total external funding to date, including a $10.2 million Series B round in 2013. 

The Carevive oncology study with TempTraq will initially take place across three states with potential for further expansion. Patients who participate in the study will report their symptoms while wearing the TempTraq patch.  This symptom monitoring, combined with the high-frequency patient temperature data provided by the patch, will be used to help improve infection detection for early intervention in the most vulnerable cancer patients.  


Feature image used courtesy of the National Cancer Institute/Unsplash