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Wireless Implantable Sensor Measuring Blood Sugar – One Step Closer to Artificial Pancreas

Posted Jul 28 2010 2:24pm

No human testing has been done so far, just a pig, but the pig has done well.  The battery life is around a year and there are plans to also have the sensor communicate with a cellphone.  The implant needs to be coordinated with an insulin pump. 

The implant is simply placed under the skin, so we are not talking major surgery.  BD

From the website: image

“In contrast to currently available devices, the GlySens long term, fully implantable glucose sensor is unobtrusive and also does not require user initiative to obtain a measurement. The sensor resides completely under the skin in subcutaneous tissues, continuously monitoring glucose levels, and, in a first system configuration, reports information wirelessly to a small external monitor worn on the belt or carried in the pocket or purse.

The external monitor reports the user's most recent glucose level and displays trend information from previous glucose levels, and can be programmed to alert the user of unsafe glycemic conditions. An important advantage of this type of sensor system is the capability to warn of hypoglycemia, glucose levels that are dangerously low. Measurements are automatic, do not require user initiative, and provide current glucose information at any time, even during sleep. The GlySens sensor is specifically designed to address key shortcomings of other monitoring technologies for controlling therapeutic delivery, and may enable introduction of important new therapeutic tools based on sensor feedback signals.”

Researchers have developed an implantable sensor that measures blood sugar continuously and transmits the information without wires -- a milestone, they said, in diabetes treatment.

The device worked in one pig for more than a year and in another for nearly 10 months with no trouble, they reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

It takes the diabetes field a step closer to development of an "artificial pancreas" -- a device that can replace natural functions to control how the body handles blood sugar.

The device uses a sensor that detects oxygen in the tissue where it is implanted to measure glucose. "The present artificial pancreases use needle-like sensors or wire-like sensors," Gough said. "This device is likely to be more appealing to people with diabetes. There is nothing protruding from the body."

To inject insulin or use an insulin pump, patients need input on blood glucose levels. Too little insulin and patients get damage from hyperglycemia, or too much blood sugar.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which helped pay for the study, has been working with several companies to create a seamless artificial pancreas. It works with U.S. drugmaker Johnson & Johnson's unit Animas, which makes insulin pumps, and DexCom Inc , which makes continuous glucose monitoring devices.

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