South Korean scientists have developed a non-invasive smart patch that can keep a diabetic’s glucose levels in check through their sweat and deliver drugs when needed.
Usage of smart patches could be a milestone development as it would allow diabetic patients to replace finger prick tests and injections with practical patches.
Kim Dae-Hyeong, South Korean researcher at Institute for Basic Science says diabetic patients can easily use the patch which worked well in mice trials because it would not stress them out or cause any pain.
"The device is a type of patch which enables diabetic patients to monitor blood sugar levels via sweat without taking blood samples and control glucose levels by injecting medication," said Kim, adding that the patch would prevent patient’s blood glucose level from increasing.
“Therefore, our device can greatly contribute to helping patients avoid complications of the disease."
After analyzing the patient's sweat to sense glucose, the patch's embedded sensors constantly test pH, humidity, and temperature - important factors for accurate blood sugar readings.
The graphene-based patch is studded with micro-needles coated with medication that pierce the skin painlessly.
When the patch senses above normal glucose levels, a tiny heating element switches on which dissolves the medication coating the microneedles and releases it into the body.
Researchers want to lower the cost of production, while figuring out how to deliver enough medication to effectively treat humans, both major hurdles towards commercialization.
The research was published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology in March.