Optical Glucose Sensor on the Road to Commercialization
LEEDS, England — A University of Leeds spin-off company is seeking to commercialize an optical glucose sensor that could make finger-prick blood tests unnecessary for people with diabetes.
Glucosense Diagnostics Ltd. intends to make tabletop and wearable versions of the device, currently in clinical trials.
The sensor uses a nanoengineered silica chip with an active layer of ions that fluoresce when illuminated by a low-power, near-infrared diode laser. The fluorescence decay changes when the glass comes in contact with skin, due to glucose in the bloodstream absorbing and scattering the light. In this way, the device can determine blood glucose levels in about 30 seconds.
"As well as being a replacement for finger-prick testing, this technology opens up the potential for people with diabetes to receive continuous readings, meaning they are instantly alerted when intervention is needed," said Leeds professor Gin Jose, who developed the technology.
"This will allow people to self-regulate and minimize emergency hospital treatment. This wearable device would then be just one step from a product which sends alerts to smartphones or readings directly to doctors, allowing them to profile how a person is managing their diabetes over time."
The results of a pilot clinical study, carried out at the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine under the supervision of Professor Peter Grant, suggest that the new monitor has the potential to perform as well as conventional technologies. More clinical trials and product optimization are required for regulatory approvals and before the technology can be put on the market.
"Noninvasive monitoring will be particularly valuable in young people with Type 1 diabetes," Grant said. "Within this group, those who are attempting very tight control, such as young women going through pregnancy or people who are experiencing recurrent hypoglycaemia, could find this technology very useful."
Glucosense was jointly formed and funded by the University of Leeds and NetScientific PLC, a biomedical and health care technology group specializing in commercializing technologies from universities and research institutes.
Funding for the initial feasibility study came from the National Institute for Health Research; the work was also supported by the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and University of Leeds Research and Innovation Services.
For more information, visit www.glucosense.net and www.leeds.ac.uk.
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