Sweat-based system for monitoring glucose and delivering diabetes drugs

We all are aware of the close monitoring of levels of blood glucose needed for diabetic patients on a regular basis. They usually use a tool that does a blood test by pricking their finger and inform whether or not to take drugs or insulin shots. However, this can be a very painful procedure and not everyone would follow it regularly, which can result in risky variations in the levels of blood glucose.

The sweat oozed by the skin consists of small quantities of glucose that associate with the amount of blood glucose. Several technical challenges, including temperature differences, movement of the skin, and small sample volume have averted sweat-based glucometry outside the research laboratory. But now, a research team at the Institute for Basic Science, South Korea, has developed a system that can monitor glucose levels as well as deliver drug when required with the use of sweat samples, instead of blood, to detect glucose levels.

The sweat-based tool is transfer-printed onto a slender silicone skin area. It is fabricated from stretchable and flexible electronics, which consists of an array of stretchable graphene sensors loaded as close as achievable. The sensors included were for glucose, humidity, temperature, and pH. The electrodes of the sensors are manufactured from porous gold nanoparticles, the structure of which assists in creating an electrochemically active surface area so as to detect the elements present in the sweat sample. A film strip of drug-loaded microneedles is placed above the heating strip. The heating strip assists in generating humidity and produces sweat more rapidly. The film strip is loaded with drugs that are utilized for controlling diabetes.

Sweat gathers in the patch’s permeable sweat-uptake sheet, which also facilitates screening out of negatively charged molecules such as drugs that may hamper glucose detection. A waterproof band aid in preventing the patch from coming off the skin. When the sweat coats the pH and glucose sensors, the estimations is started. After the determination, if the glucose levels are found to be high, the therapeutic section automatically stimulates the microneedle-based drug delivery. Clinical trial on humans is yet to be conducted.

We hope the team successfully accomplishes the positive usage of this device in the diabetic patients. Do you think this system can uplift the quality of life of a diabetic patient?