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Longevity Briefs: New pain-free blood glucose sensor

Posted on 22 September 2020

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Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: For people with diabetes, and who do not possess a continuous glucose monitor, monitoring your blood glucose levels is a daunting, yet crucial ritual. The prospect of lancing yourself with a needle to draw blood, however small, can be a traumatic experience, especially for young children.

What did the researchers do: Researchers at the Institute of Industrial Science in Tokyo, Japan, have recently developed a paper-based sensor containing an array of porous microneedles that are designed to puncture only the top layer of skin, not reaching the nerves below.

Artist’s impression. (Institute of Industrial Science/University of Tokyo). Source: ScienceAlert

The microneedles allow the sampling of the interstitial fluid which plays host to not only blood glucose levels but also a variety of other useful biomarkers.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: Not only does this new sensor allow for the pain-free collection of blood glucose data, but it also holds promise for various aspects of drug delivery. The microneedles are able to administer drugs and vaccines without the need for conventional injection. It also has the ability to deliver drugs to hard-to-reach places, such as the eye. Although it has only been tested on an agarose gel in the lab, the team is looking to start investigations with human participants in the near future.

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