The Smart Magazine About Medical Technology Innovations

#18 – Minimally Invasive Robotic Systems

A Patch to Replace Finger-Prick Glucose Tests


A smart patch for people with diabetes (Courtesy of Hui Won Yun)

A team of researchers from Seoul National University in South Korea is developing a smart patch to replace finger-prick glucose tests and drug injections. Made from graphene, the device measures glucose in sweat and is connected by wires to a portable electrochemical analyzer. When blood sugar is too high, it releases a drug through microneedles to lower it.

The microneedles, too small to cause pain, can pierce the skin and reach the subcutaneous tissue. To release the drug, the patch switches on a tiny heater embedded within. This dissolves a coating on the microneedles, releasing the drug.

Recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, the work is still in its early stages.

The ultimate goal for the research team is a non-invasive device that combines glucose monitoring and drug delivery. One remaining hurdle is that human drug dose levels are too high to be released by the patch.

About the Author

Celia Sampol has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national medias (Agence France Presse, Liberation, Europolitics). She's the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine and MedicalExpo e-magazine.

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