Scientists a published a study in the journal Nature Nanotechnology wherein they have mentioned development of a new sticky patch capable of monitoring blood sugar in diabetes patients.
The patch can non-invasively monitor glucose levels in diabetics through the skin. The patch will end the frequent use of painful finger-prick blood tests in diabetes patients.
Instead of piercing the skin to take blood, the patch draws glucose out from fluid between cells across hair follicles, which are individually accessed via an array of miniature sensors using a small electric current. Further, the patch does not require calibration with a blood sample – meaning that finger prick blood tests are unnecessary, due to the design of the array of sensors and reservoirs.
As per the study, the glucose collects in tiny reservoirs and is measured. Readings can be taken every 10 to 15 minutes over several hours.
The research team from the University of Bath in the UK hope that it can eventually become a low-cost, wearable sensor that sends regular, clinically relevant glucose measurements to the wearer’s phone or smartwatch wirelessly, alerting them when they may need to take action.
The advantage of this device is that each miniature sensor of the array can operate on a small area over an individual hair follicle – this significantly reduces inter- and intra-skin variability in glucose extraction and increases the accuracy of the measurements taken such that calibration via a blood sample is not required.
Richard Guy, from the University of Bath said,”A non-invasive – that is, needle-less – method to monitor blood sugar has proven a difficult goal to attain.”
In this study the team tested the patch on both pig skin, where they showed it could accurately track glucose levels across the range seen in diabetic human patients, and on healthy human volunteers, where again the patch was able to track blood sugar variations throughout the day.