29 November 2022

Blood glucose meter under the skin

An implantable sensor has been created that will replace a glucose meter for diabetics

Svetlana Maslova, Hi-tech+

Scientists from South Korea presented a microscopic implant that continuously assesses glucose levels. Unlike other analogues, it works much longer and provides more accurate indicators. The new technology will help millions of patients forget about daily invasive tests with a blood glucose meter.

Continuous glucose monitoring systems are becoming more and more popular compared to traditional finger punctures for analyzing blood counts. Today there are two types of such systems available on the market, needle and fluorescent, but in addition to a number of disadvantages, their service life ranges from several weeks to several months.

Scientists from The Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology presented a long—awaited alternative - a subcutaneously implantable electromagnetic sensor that evaluates the glucose level in the interstitial fluid filling the space between cells through changes in the dielectric constant of blood.


A drawing from an article by Kim et al. Subcutaneously implantable electromagnetic biosensor system for continuous glucose monitoring, published in the journal Scientific Reports – VM.

"Our prototype overcame the disadvantages of continuous monitoring systems, such as a short service life and accuracy in predicting blood glucose levels," the scientists commented.

At the moment, accuracy and functionality have been confirmed in preclinical experiments on pigs and dogs. While the sensor is at the very early stage of development, however, the accuracy indicators demonstrate the great potential of the technology.

Currently, scientists are working on creating a biocompatible shell with a human, which will avoid the body's reaction to a foreign body. It is planned that the new glucose monitoring system will significantly expand the use of non-invasive tools among diabetics. So far, only 5% of patients have access to them.

More than 400 million people live with type 2 diabetes today. Recently , scientists from Singapore has presented a new strategy for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes, which, due to its prevalence, is already being compared with an epidemic. The new approach is based on the assessment of the bile acid profile.

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