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Optical glucose sensor holds promise for diabetics and intensive care patients

d us through the early stages when we were stumbling around and trying to figure out how to do this," Wessling said.

Singaram's group is now collaborating with a local company, Glumetrics LLC, which is developing a line of products based on the optical glucose sensor. Glumetrics was founded by Singaram's colleague Todd Wipke, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UCSC, but not a member of Singaram's research team.

"I thought it was a good project and wanted to see if I could put together a group of investors and a management team to take it on and develop the applications," said Wipke, who chairs the Board of Directors of Glumetrics.

The optical glucose sensor consists of a fluorescent chemical complex immobilized in a "thin-film hydrogel." The hydrogel, a biocompatible polymer similar to that used to make soft contact lenses, is permeable to glucose. The sensing system has two components: a fluorescent dye and a "quencher" that is responsive to glucose. In the absence of glucose, the quencher binds to the dye and prevents fluorescence, while the interaction of glucose with the quencher leads to dissociation of the complex and an increase in fluorescence.

Singaram's team tested the sensor by mounting it in a flow cell and circulating a solution with varying concentrations of glucose through the cell. The results showed that the system functions as a continuous glucose monitor capable of operating under physiological conditions. The sensor shows outstanding glucose response over the full range of glucose levels that might occur in a diabetic, Singaram said.

"This is the first system to show reversible optical sensing of glucose with a thin-film hydrogel. We tested the sensor under conditions that are as close as possible to the physiological conditions under which a continuous glucose monitor would have to operate," he said.

In addition to Singaram and Wessling, the authors of the recent paper include Jeff Suri
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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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