Optical glucose sensor holds promise for diabetics and intensive care patients

, now a postdoctoral researcher at Scripps Research Institute, and graduate students David Cordes and Frank Cappuccio.

The researchers have also applied the hydrogel to the end of an optical fiber, enabling the signal from the glucose sensor to be transmitted through the optical fiber.

The application of this technology that is closest to yielding a marketable product is a catheter device, called GluCath, for monitoring blood glucose levels in hospitalized patients, Wipke said. Glucose levels must be regularly monitored in patients in intensive care units and others being fed intravenously with glucose drips. Research has shown that tight control of blood glucose levels can significantly reduce mortality of ICU patients, but the only way to do this currently is by taking frequent blood samples for analysis, which is painful for the patient and expensive for the hospital.

"The GluCath catheter is inserted into a blood vessel and gives a continuous reading, and it can sound an alarm if the glucose level goes too high or too low. GluCath should reduce pain, reduce costs, and reduce deaths," Wipke said.

An implantable glucose monitor for diabetics is the next product in the pipeline, he said. Other companies have used different technologies to develop continuous glucose monitors for diabetics, but currently there is nothing on the market that is effective enough to be used in place of the standard blood tests.

"Every conceivable method of detection has been explored, with very limited success, even after years of intensive research and development," Singaram said.

In Singaram's sensing system, glucose modulates the fluorescent signal by binding reversibly to a boronic acid component attached to the quencher molecule. Singaram's team designed the fluorescent dye (an anionic pyranine sulfonamide monomer) and the quencher (benzyl viologen with a boronic acid functional group attached). The fluorescence is stimulated by li

Contact: Tim Stephens
University of California - Santa Cruz

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