For millions of diabetics, the most unpleasant part of their life is to perform daily blood tests to keep their blood sugar in check. Every day they have to endure the finger-prick pain because there hasn’t been a better way to monitor the glucose levels.
But, it seems that these problems are coming to an end. There is a new adhesive skin patch that can help monitor the blood sugar. Researchers have created an adhesive patch that is non-invasive, and is supposed to monitor the blood sugar levels through the skin.
It doesn’t require patients to take a blood test. This new device has the potential to get rid of the need for countless people with diabetes to always carry out painful blood tests.
Here is everything you need to know about this latest glucose-monitoring patch.
This new adhesive patch doesn’t require diabetics to pierce their skin. Instead, it draws out the blood sugar from the fluid located between the cells across the hair follicles. These cells are all individually accessed with the help of tiny sensors that use small electric current.
Once the blood sugar has been collected in the small reservoirs, the device measures it. If necessary, the readings can be taken every ten to fifteen minutes. If you don’t need that many regular check-ups, the adhesive patch can also be used every several hours.
Because of all the reservoirs and sensors that this patch contains, it doesn’t require a blood sample. In other words, there is no need for diabetics to prick their finger to monitor their blood sugar.
One research team from the University of Bath have published their device in Nature Nanotechnology.
The team hopes to eventually make this wearable sensor a low-cost device and a clinically relevant blood sugar measurement that can be wirelessly connected to a smartphone. This way, it will keep the wearer informed about the changes that are happening in their body, alerting them if an action is necessary.
This amazing project is a multidisciplinary cooperation between researchers from the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Pharmacology, and Pharmacy at the University of Bath.
A professor from the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, Richard Guy, stated that this needle-less and non-invasive method to monitor the glucose has proven difficult to achieve. The closest that researchers have been is having to calibrate the device for at least one finger prick.
In other words, they had to at least take one blood sample to monitor the blood sugar levels. Eventually, the researchers at Bath hope to make this device a truly calibration-free method for keeping diabetes in check.
This, in turn, can help people better manage their condition. Dr. Adelina Ilie, from the Department of Physics, stated that the unique structure of the device allows for a calibration-free operation.
This device has the potential to allow realization with many different materials in combination.
This device has crucial advantages that can prove immensely useful for people with diabetes. Firstly, it is incredibly flexible, conductive, and strong. Plus, it has the potential to be a cheaper alternative that is also environmentally friendly.
To confirm the effects of this device, the researchers tested it on both pig and human skin. It showed great precision and accuracy when monitoring the blood sugar levels in human patients with diabetes.
Also, the patch can be used to track blood glucose variations in healthy human patients.
The next steps in refining this product include proper optimization of the number of sensors in order to demonstrate its full potential and functionally over the span of 24h. Also, more clinical trials are necessary before it becomes widely available.
If this method truly becomes 100% functional, it has the potential to become the best monitoring pain-free device for the blood sugar levels.
This device is funded by the Medical Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and Sir Halley Stewart Trust.