Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biomedical engineers at case develop first sliver-sized sensor to monitor glucose levels

19.10.2004


It’s a good thing that the now eight-year-old son of Miklos Gratzl, a Case Western Reserve University biomedical engineer, got a splinter in his finger one day – at least for the sake of science. With apologies to his son – instead of an "Ouch!" moment, for Gratzl it was more of an "A-ha!" moment.

As he was removing it from his son’s finger, the splinter gave him an idea: Since it showed no open wound in the skin, he thought to himself that a sensor like a sliver would be ideal for all kinds of biomedical applications since the skin would heal very quickly above it and after that no track infection can occur.

The associate professor of biomedical engineering and researcher at the Case School of Engineering has developed for the first time a "sliver-sensor" – a fully functional, minimally invasive, microscopic new monitor that can be placed just under the skin and seen with the naked eye for very accurate, continuous examination of glucose level for diabetics and other bodily fluid levels – with the help of simple color changes.



Colors in the tiny sensor, which is smaller than the tip of a pencil, gradually change from orange (low glucose levels) to green and then to dark blue as levels increase. A deep, darker blue signifies the highest glucose level that can occur in diabetics. Gratzl and co-principal investigator Koji Tohda, a biomedical engineering researcher at Case, believe the implications for improving the quality of life of diabetics would be substantial.

"Many diabetics could greatly benefit from this technology, freeing them from having to take samples from their fingers several times a day to monitor blood sugar levels," Gratzl said. "The monitor could also help doctors with close monitoring of electrolytes, metabolites and other vital biochemicals in the body, primarily those of critically ill patients."

Gratzl and Tohda’s research also may benefit our future astronauts. The research is being funded by NASA and the John Glenn Biomedical Engineering Consortium at NASA Glenn Research Center, and partially by Vision Sensors LLC, a Cleveland-based startup.
Astronauts face the possibility of becoming ill while in space. Accidents also happen. In such cases doctors on Earth have to make a diagnosis from a distance of several thousand miles. This new sensor, continually monitoring such vital markers as ions and metabolites in an astronaut’s interstitial fluid may make it easier and quicker for doctors to decide the best intervention and therapy. To date, no such continuous, minimally invasive monitor for ions and metabolites has been available.

Tohda’s expertise in the area of optode technology helped point the researchers in the direction of using color changing molecules to detect ionic levels as they vary with changes in glucose. According to Gratzl, this approach is much more modern and powerful technology than the traditional color dyes, which are difficult to "immobilize" inside the sensor, Gratzl says. Traditional dyes tend to diffuse and "get lost" in tissue and cannot be changed or "tuned" to best adapt to being inside a sensor. So Tohda suggested they create a sliver sensor that would generate color change instead of an electrical current. "We also thought that color can be seen better from the outside if the sliver is not too deep, and if it gets distorted by the skin this can be corrected by using a white spot inside the sensor that does not change color," Gratzl said.

The sensor, which is one to two millimeters long and 100 to 200 micrometers wide, penetrates the skin easily and painlessly so users may insert or reinsert it themselves when needed and can be operational at least for several days at a time. It can be monitored by eyesight and by electronic telemetry using a watchlike device worn by the person for data processing. Sensing itself does not require a battery, or the collection of blood samples, and needs very little energy if a watchlike signal processor is used. With no wires across the skin, there is no deterioration of the skin surface or other areas inside the skin and no danger of track infection. The device also is advantageous because no electrical currents are going through the body.

Gratzl says lab testing and in vivo testing of the sensor in laboratory animals has been going well. He also reports the sliver sensor could be ready for human testing within six months. "So far, the sensor is performing beyond expectation in preliminary laboratory tests," Gratzl said. "Over the years, there has been a lack of good, quality devices for diabetics to monitor glucose – something they must do every day of their lives – devices that are reliable, relatively low-cost and minimally invasive."

Members of the John Glenn Biomedical Engineering Consortium include Case, NASA Glenn Research Center, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals of Cleveland and the National Center for Microgravity Research.

Laura Massie | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.case.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh

nachricht Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>