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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Experimental Sensor Could Help Diabetics Monitor Blood Sugar Without Pricking Their Fingers

A Draper Laboratory scientist has demonstrated that an experimental sensor can monitor glucose levels without taking blood samples just as well as traditional methods involving frequent painful finger pricking.

Dr. Heather Clark leads a research team at Draper that has developed a novel nanosensor that changes fluorescence in response to glucose.  When embedded into skin – similar to a tattoo – these nanosensors can detect and signal changes in blood glucose. Fluorescence is used due to increased sensitivity over color changes that can be viewed with the naked eye.

Results of the testing, which was conducted both in vitro and with mice, was published March 31 in Analytical Chemistry, a peer-reviewed research journal. The study represents the most detailed, peer-reviewed testing to date with this work, which began in 2008.

NanosensorsThis concept offers the potential to enable a diabetic to monitor blood sugar without pain, and could be applied to spot other conditions such as depleted levels of sodium, potassium, and chloride, which could be used to catch signs of dehydration in athletes and troops. “Our work highlights both the chemistry behind our glucose-sensitive nanosensor and also the first demonstration of the sensor in mice,” Clark said. “This study represents progress towards minimally invasive glucose monitoring, the first small step to making it a reality some day for diabetic patients.”

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