Conventional techniques for regularly monitoring diabetes use blood samples collected from patients through venipuncture. Given that some patients have reservations about these invasive methods, particularly children and elderly people, in recent years efforts have been focused on the research and development of non-invasive glucose sensors.However, thepreparation of electrodes that can detect very low concentrations of glucose in fluid such as saliva, sweat and tears has been an enormous challenge to date.
The Innovation in Materials and Molecular Engineering - Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies (IMEM-BRT) group has developed a non-invasive sensor to detect glucose in blood based on pH and temperature conditions of sweat in the human body.
In this new technology, corona discharge plasma is used to manufacture electrochemical sensors using plastics from basic products, which are insulting and electrochemically inert and include low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or even recycled plastic. These plastics, which act as a very simple, cheap mediator between the enzyme and a conductive substrate, can efficiently detect glucose in the pH and temperature conditions of sweat. The detection limit of these devices is less than 0.02 mM. Notably, this last value is totally compatible with the concentration of glucose in sweat, which ranges between 0.06 and 0.11 mM in healthy patients and 0.01 to 1 mM in diabetic patients.
In addition, the sensor can simultaneously detect other analytes such as for example lactate and dopamine. This multi-functionality makes it relevant as a non-invasive tool to prevent cardiac problems (for example in runners).
This technology has been patented and licensed by a company that will market it.