Glowing ears signal sugar level
A long-lasting, implantable glucose sensor
Institute of Industrial Science
A glowing blood sugar sensor implanted under the skin could provide diabetes sufferers with a convenient and less invasive way to monitor their blood sugar levels.
Professor Shoji Takeuchi and his colleagues immobilized a fluorescent sensor on micron-diameter hydrogel fibers, increasing the sensor’s contact with tissue and reducing its mobility. When injected under the ear skin of mice, the sensor enabled continuous and accurate blood glucose monitoring for more than four months. In contrast, fluorescent microbeads used in an earlier experiment became dislodged after only one month. Furthermore, impregnating the sensors with polyethylene glycol helped reduce inflammation and maintain sensor function.
Although the sensors are far from ready for use in people, with further technical refinement it should be possible for diabetes sufferers to monitor their blood sugar levels using the glowing blood sugar sensors.
Department release/press release (Japanese)
Yun Jung Heo, Hideaki Shibata, Teru Okitsu, Tetsuro Kawanishi, and Shoji Takeuchi,
“Long-term in vivo glucose monitoring using fluorescent hydrogel fibers”,
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1104954108