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Glucose Monitor May Get Under Your Skin

A glowing, subdermal glucose sensor could make it easier for diabetics to monitor their status.

Researchers at the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo have found a way to monitor glucose levels using tiny implanted wireless fluorescent sensors that glow relative to blood sugar levels. Considering that nearly 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, this is big news for those who would love to do away with bothersome finger pricks.

While others have looked for ways to monitor glucose concentrations using subdermal sensors, no one has been able to create one that can be implanted and left under a person’s skin over an extended period. In a review of the study MedGadget reports that the sensor is better than existing subdermal glucose sensors that are limited by poor accuracy, stability and are oxygen dependent.

The Japanese researchers found that the polyethylene glycol (PEG)-bonded polyacrylamide (PAM) hydrogel fibers they used reduced inflammation compared with regular PAM hydrogel fibers. They also found that the sensor continuously responded to blood glucose concentration changes for up to 140 to 160;days, showing its potential application for long-term in vivo continuous glucose monitoring.

According to MedGadget, further calibration and testing of the sensor is needed, but the researchers hope their findings will foster the development of long-term, fluorescent, implanted continuous glucose sensors that can be used in people.

The study was published online earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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