An unpleasant part of a diabetic’s daily routine is to perform the finger-prick blood test on their finger. But it is also necessary for them to perform this task. However, this misery can end if a new glucose-monitoring adhesive skin patch reaches the market. A team of scientists at the University of Bath in the UK understood the importance of this and have created a graphene-based device. This device is worn on the skin without piercing the skin surface.
The patch has an array of miniature sensors, which use a small electric current to draw glucose out from the interstitial fluid which is located between cells within the body-hair follicles. Each of the sensors covers an individual follicle. The extracted glucose is collected in tiny reservoirs where it is measured. The results show accurate blood readings which can be taken every 10 to 15 minutes.
The scientists are hoping that once the patch is commercialized, the disposable and inexpensive device can transmit the readings to an app on the user’s smartphone. The app will also provide alerts whenever necessary. Richard Guy, Bath’s Prof. said, “A non-invasive – that is, needle-less – method to monitor blood sugar has proven a difficult goal to attain. The closest that has been achieved has required either at least a single-point calibration with a classic ‘finger-stick,’ or the implantation of a pre-calibrated sensor via a single needle insertion. The monitor developed at Bath promises a truly calibration-free approach.”
The patch has been used successfully to monitor the fluctuating blood glucose levels in the lab. The tests were conducted on pig skin and on human volunteers as well. The scientists are planning on optimizing the number of sensors in the patch. This will demonstrate its functionality over a wear period of 24 hours and also the performance of clinical trials.