Optical glucose sensor holds promise for diabetics and intensive care patients

ght from an LED and can be easily measured because it occurs at a distinct wavelength from the LED light.

"This technology satisfies all of the requirements for a working optical glucose sensor--it operates in the physiological pH range in blood or water, it can be stimulated by LED light, the response time is very fast, and the compounds are stable and don't degrade over time," Wipke said.

One of the biggest challenges for an implantable device is the body's tendency to encapsulate any foreign substance. Encapsulation could affect the ability of glucose to reach the sensor. If this problem can be overcome, however, an implantable glucose monitor would provide the crucial "missing link" in the development of an artificial pancreas.

Insulin pumps are already available that diabetics can use to deliver their insulin doses instead of giving themselves injections. In concept, at least, an artificial pancreas is simply a continuous glucose monitor connected to an insulin pump that is programmed to deliver appropriate doses of insulin to maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

"That is the holy grail that many people have been pursuing. It won't cure diabetes, but it would make management of the disease a lot easier," Singaram said.

Singaram's research on the glucose sensor is funded by UC's BioStar Discovery Grant program in collaboration with Glumetrics.

"It is a great example of successful technology transfer from the university to a company that can commercialize on this," Wipke said. "The collaboration has enabled the research to flourish and supported graduate student education at the university, and it has enabled the start of a new company in the Santa Cruz area."

Glumetrics is based at the UC Monterey Bay Education, Science, and Technology (MBEST) Center in Marina, where UCSC is helping to establish a community of high-technology businesses through strategic partnerships with the education and research ins

Contact: Tim Stephens
University of California - Santa Cruz

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