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Optical glucose sensor holds promise for diabetics and intensive care patients

SANTA CRUZ, CA--Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have developed a novel optical glucose sensor that could be used to provide continuous monitoring of glucose levels in diabetics and hospitalized patients. Recently published studies showed that the sensor detects glucose under physiological conditions, giving a reversible fluorescent signal that changes intensity in response to changes in the concentration of glucose.

Bakthan Singaram, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UCSC, has been working on the glucose sensor for the past four years, along with visiting scientist Rich Wessling and several graduate students. The team's latest results were published in December in the international journal Angewandte Chemie.

"We are very excited about the prospects for our optical glucose sensor to be used in a viable device for continuous glucose monitoring," Singaram said.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the body's ability to produce or respond to insulin, the hormone that allows glucose to enter the body's cells and be stored or used for energy. Many diabetics require insulin injections, and all must carefully monitor and manage their blood glucose levels. For millions of diabetics, this means drawing blood several times a day, usually from finger pricks. But glucose levels can fluctuate widely throughout the day, making it difficult to know when to do the blood tests for optimal control of glucose levels.

A device that can provide continuous monitoring of blood glucose levels has been eagerly sought by many research groups for more than a decade, with limited success. Singaram started working to develop a glucose sensor at the suggestion of Paul Levin, founder of Palco Labs, a Santa Cruz company that makes products for diabetics. Palco funded the first two years of research on the optical glucose sensor, but was eventually unable to continue its support.

"The support from Palco Labs carrie
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Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-2495
University of California - Santa Cruz
16-Mar-2004


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