Chemical engineers at MIT are designing carbon nanotubes that can be injected beneath the skin to reveal continuous blood glucose levels in real time. If it works, people with Type I diabetes may not have to prick their fingers multiple times a day to monitor their glucose levels.
Dubbed a "tattoo" that's designed to detect glucose, the nanotubes are wrapped in a polymer that is sensitive to glucose concentrations. A wearable device roughly the size of a wristwatch shines infrared light through the skin and onto the nanotubes, which fluoresce when in contact with glucose.
So it's really a tattoo in hiding. And at this point the sensor is estimated to have a shelf (or is it skin?) life of roughly six months.
But the team, which plans to start testing on animals soon, says that if the readings are accurate enough to pass the Clarke Error Grid analysis for glucose sensor accuracy, the system could revolutionize continuous glucose monitoring.
"The most problematic consequences of diabetes result from relatively short excursions of a person's blood sugar outside of the normal physiological range, following meals, for example," said Michael Strano, a professor at MIT's Department of Chemical Engineering. "If we can detect and prevent these excursions, we can go a long way toward reducing the devastating impact of this disease."… Read more