David Gough and his colleagues from the University of California, San Diego and from GlySens Incorporated have successfully tested a novel glucose sensor for long-term implantation. The researchers have successfully used the 1.5 inch sensor in pigs for up to 520 days.
Diabetics must carefully monitor their blood glucose levels via needle sticks, which sometimes must be performed many times each day. Some people use external insulin pumps, however, these are not generally connected to glucose monitors. Usually, the pumps must be preprogrammed by physicians, requiring patients to rigorously follow eating and exercise programs.
An internal monitor would eliminate the need for constant pricking. If connected to a pump, the entire system could allow continuous and virtually instantaneous insulin monitoring and control. There are some implantable glucose monitors, but none that last much longer than a week. In contrast, Gough’s device was successfully used in one pig for well over a year. The researchers look forward to starting human trials as soon as possible.
The tested device currently sends the glucose information to a wireless data recorder. The researchers anticipate one day sending the data to cell phones. For example, the data could be sent to a parent’s phone to alert her if her child needed attention during the night.