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One More Attempt At A Non-invasive Glucometer

Laser technology being developed by Glucosense Diagnostic, Ltd. could end the need for finger sticking…

Professor Gin Jose and his team at the University of Leeds have designed a device that measures blood glucose without drawing blood. The device uses nano-engineered silica glass containing ions that fluoresce when a low-powered laser hits them. The user places a finger on the device, similar to a computer mouse, and the extent of fluorescence varies according to the amount of glucose in the blood. The device reads the fluorescence time, and converts it to a glucose measurement in about 30 seconds. Initial clinical trials have shown that its accuracy is comparable to blood glucometers currently on the market.

altThe researchers are also developing a wearable device with the same technology that would provide continuous glucose monitoring. “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. This will allow people to self-regulate and minimize emergency hospital treatment,” said Jose.

In addition, according to Jose, “the glass used in our sensors is hardwearing, acting in a similar way as that used in smartphones. Because of this, our device is more affordable, with lower running costs than the existing self-monitoring systems.”

With current obstacles of patient compliance with glucose monitoring, including the pain of finger sticks and the expense of test strips, the potential of a non-invasive, pain-free glucose monitor that costs less to operate than current meters has the potential to vastly improve outcomes for those with diabetes.

More clinical trials as well as product design optimization are needed before the device can gain regulatory approval and be ready for the market.

Practice Pearls:

  • New technology is in development for a lower-cost, non-invasive glucose monitor.
  • The new technology could be used for instant glucose readings or continuous glucose monitoring.
  • Reducing the cost and pain of glucose testing can improve patient compliance.

Professor Jose’s research is based in the Institute for Materials Research in the University of Leeds’ School of Chemical and Process Engineering. The initial feasibility study was funded by the NIHR i4i and the research was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the University of Leeds Research and Innovation Services. July 2015.