Microneedle patches are a promising way to easily and painlessly deliver a variety of drugs into the body. Yet there’s also a lot of potential to use microneedle patches to sense important biochemicals, glucose being probably the most important target. Researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden have developed a prototype glucose sensing patch that will hopefully be more accurate and less painful compared to current continuous glucose monitors.

The device uses needles that are about 50 times smaller than those in commercially available continuous glucometers and the needles sample the blood within the skin rather than extending deeper into the subcutaneous fat tissue. “Our solution is painless to the user,” said Federico Ribet, one of the researchers involved in the study. “We measure directly in the skin, and there are no nerve receptors that detect pain – just a fine mesh of very tiny blood vessels.”

The researchers tested the new patch on human volunteers and showed that it is able to accurately track blood glucose counts, with only a ten minute delay.

Although impressive, the patch will still require the development of a miniaturized electronic back that can read and process the signals coming from the patch. The same electronics would then send the readings to a paired smartphone or other device.

Project page: Gluco-Touch…

Study in journal Biomedical Microdevices: Real-time intradermal continuous glucose monitoring using a minimally invasive microneedle-based system…

Via: KTH…

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