South Korean team developing graphene-based patch for monitoring and treating diabetes

The team envisions the device communicating with a smartphone that wirelessly monitors blood glucose levels based on analysis of patient’s sweat.  In addition to mice, the correlation between sweat-based glucose measurements those made by traditional, commercially available glucose tests was demonstrated by tests on two healthy males.  If high levels of glucose are detected, generic diabetes drug metformin is supposed to be transcutaneously released into a patient’s bloodstream via microneedles.

“Our wearable GP (graphene)-based device is capable of not only sweat-based glucose and pH monitoring but also controlled transcutaneous drug delivery through temperature-responsive microneedles.  Precise measurement of sweat glucose concentrations are used to estimate the levels of glucose in the blood of a patient.  The device retains its original sensitivity after multiple uses, thereby allowing for multiple treatments.  The connection of the device to a portable/ wireless power supply and data transmission unit enables the point-of-care treatment of diabetes,” said professor Kim Dae-Hyeong of the Center for Nanoparticle Research, in an IBS news release.

“The patch is applied to the skin where sweat-based glucose monitoring begins on sweat generation. The humidity sensor monitors the increase in relative humidity (RH).  It takes an average of 15 minutes for the sweat-uptake layer of the patch to collect sweat and reach a RH over 80% at which time glucose and pH measurements are initiated,” he continued.  The release says transcutaneous administration of metformin is more efficient than traditional oral delivery.

IBS’ innovation is the latest using graphene, whose biosensing and diagnostic applications is being strenuously studied due to its unique, truly 2-D carbon based atomic structure.  For example, scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are studying the potential of graphene as an antibacterial coating for catheters.

Other possible wearables for monitoring diabetes being investigated include a smart contact lens.

REFERENCE:  Fierce Medical Devices; 24 MAR 2016; Varun Saxena

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