An engineering breakthrough could mean that diabetics will no longer need to draw blood to monitor their condition.The new technology, developed by Professor Gin Jose and a team at the University of Leeds, uses a small device with low-powered lasers to measure blood glucose levels without penetrating the skin.
Much of the equipment is made up of existing technology, with the breakthrough coming in the type of glass used for the lens where the finger is placed for testing.
It is a nano-engineered silica glass which allows the lasers to generate a fluorescence which can be analysed to measure the levels of glucose in the blood.
Prof Jose said: “Unlike the traditional method, this new non-invasive technology can constantly monitor blood glucose levels.
“This will allow people to self-regulate and minimise emergency hospital treatment.”
Katy Dunstone is one of tens of thousands of people living with diabetes who needs to test her glucose levels up to a dozen times a day.
For the last two years she has been part of the pilot clinical study carried out by the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine at St James’ Hospital.
“Finger pricking can be painful and messy,” she said.
“It leaves me with calluses on my finger tips as well. But this technology really works, and is so much simpler and cleaner. It could provide a real freedom.”
The trial has been carried out under the supervision of Peter Grant, Professor of Medicine at the University of Leeds and a consultant diabetes specialist.
He said: “Non-invasive monitoring will be particularly valuable in young people with Type 1 diabetes.
“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.”
Further trials will be necessary before the technology can be put on the market.
But the designers are confident that in a relatively short period of time it could be available in both portable and wearable forms.
Source: Sky News