Patch monitors glucose levels and delivers meds to control glucose

Anyone who has been around a diabetic that has to prick their fingers multiple times a day to check their blood glucose levels can understand in an instant just how difficult and annoying the disease can be. Factor in the need for some diabetics to not only prick fingers to check glucose levels, but to give themselves shots of insulin to control the blood sugar and things only get worse for diabetics. Scientists have developed an innovative medical device that might make diabetes less of a prick.

Researchers led by Dae-Hyeong Kim from the Institute for Basic Science in Seoul, South Korea have developed a wearable patch that is able to monitor blood glucose levels and deliver medications if needed to control excess glucose levels in the blood. The device uses graphene, a very strong and flexible material. To improve how well the graphene is able to operate for this type of wearable usage, the team embedded gold particles in the graphene.

When a diabetic wears the patch it captures sweat from their skin and sensors in the wearable check the pH of the sweat and temperature changes that signal high-glucose levels. If high levels are detected a heater in the patch begins to dissolve a drug called metformin that regulates high glucose levels. The drug is delivered via a microneedle injection.

The team says that the wearer might not feel the injection at all or might feel a slight tingle. The wearable can also transmit readings to a wireless device for the wearer to be able to read and track. Researchers are currently working on scaling up the drug delivery part of the device to deliver human-size doses of medications. The challenge now is to reach those acceptable treatment levels without requiring an unacceptably large number of microneedles or unacceptably large patch.

SOURCE: Popsci