No more needles: Diabetics might be able to stop the constant blood sugar checks thanks to 'nano-sensor'

  • Sensor can sit on the body and check on blood sugar levels through sweat particles

By Eddie Wrenn

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Pricking a finger everyday is just part of everyday life for many diabetes patients.

But now a non-invasive measurement approach could release them from the constant annoyance of pin pricks.

Researchers for a firm called Fraunhofer have designed a chip which can be placed on a patient's body, which can then measure glucose levels via fluids such as body-sweat, meaning diabetics could say goodbye to the prick and needle approach.

No more pricks: The Fraunhofer chip can sit below the eye, or elsewhere on the body, and could mean the end of needles for diabetics

No more pricks: The Fraunhofer chip can sit below the eye, or elsewhere on the body, and could mean the end of needles for diabetics

For many diabetics, checking blood glucose is an everyday part of life, especially for patients with Type-1 diabetes, who always have to keep a close eye on their levels, since their bodies are incapable of producing the insulin to break down the glucose in the blood.

Several times a day, they have to place a tiny drop of blood on a test strip. It is the only way they can ascertain the blood glucose value, so they can inject the correct amount of insulin needed. And for pain-sensitive patients, the procedure is agony.

The new procedure by Fraunhofer is a bio-sensor that is located on the patient’s body.

End to the injections: The nano-sized chip could mean an end to painful constant blood-sugar checks

End to the injections: The nano-sized chip could mean an end to painful constant blood-sugar checks

It is also able to measure glucose levels continuously using tissue fluids other than blood, such as in sweat or tears, and as it is in nano-form, it is less uncomfortable and more discreet for users - measuring just 0.5 x 2.0 millimeters.

Researchers have also attached the entire diagnostic system to it.

Tom Zimmermann, business unit manager at IMS, said: 'It even has an integrated analog digital converter that converts the electrochemical signals into digital data.

'The biosensor transmits the data via a wireless interface, for example to a mobile receiver. Thus, the patient can keep a steady eye on his or her glucose level.

'In the past, you used to need a circuit board the size of a half-sheet of paper.

'And you also had to have a driver. But even these things are no longer necessary with our new sensor.'

The circuitry also holds a battery which can last for months.

The company hopes to get the prototypes into production in the near-future to banish the finger pricks forever.

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

No more needles is a misleading headline. Yes, it will put an end for pin prick tests, but as far as I can see from this article, will not stop insulin injections. Come on Daily Mail, such sensationalism is not necessary!

Click to rate     Rating   11

I think the NHS would pay for them since in the long run, it would be cheaper than sticks and strips. Certainly, I can't wait to see that in all children's hospitals. The mess of wee ones' little feet and fingers is horrible (but necessary) not to mention traumatic. This is what scientists need to be working on rather than rubbish about making the perfect cup of tea, etc.

Click to rate     Rating   14

Test strips in the UK are FREE. Once you have registered with your PCT as a diabetic. As is the Insulin & tablets, all tablets & medication. Good old NHS.

Click to rate     Rating   23

Let's hope this hits the market at a decent price and that insurance covers it. The most painful sticking for us diabetics (yes, I'm a member of the Insulin Club) isn't the actual testing or the insulin shots - it's the insane price of the test strips, typically about $1.20 PER STRIP. Help!

Click to rate     Rating   17

Incredible hope it comes soon?

Click to rate     Rating   43

I bet the NHS won't pay for them.

Click to rate     Rating   20

Please let this be real (and affordable).

Click to rate     Rating   78

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