Researchers from Massachusetts flexible electronics company MC10 and from Seoul National University in South Korea have created a prototype skin patch that could both monitor blood glucose levels and administer drugs like insulin or Metformin to patients with diabetes.
In the study, recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, researchers used a combination of graphene and gold mesh to create the patch, which was able to reduce blood glucose levels in mice. It measures humidity, glucose, pH, and temperature and uses pH and glucose to improve the accuracy of the glucose measurement.
According to MIT Tech Review, there’s a lot of precedent for both halves of the technology, but this is the first prototype to combine monitoring with drug delivery. With such a small, minimally invasive form factor, it could eventually be an attractive treatment option for people living with diabetes who want an unobtrusive way to manage the condition.
The same research team behind this prototype published a similar paper in Nature about a patch for Parkinson’s disease that would both measure tremors and deliver drugs. Also in Nature, a Stanford team published a paper in January on a wearable sweat sensor, though it was not focused on glucose monitoring as a use case.
In other MC10 news, the research group finally launched the research-ready version of its BioStamp remote monitoring patch. The BioStamp Research Connect platform, available for purchase by government, industry, and academics, includes a flexible sensor that can be worn on a variety of locations on the body, and a web portal and app for researchers that allow them to manage the data the patch collects. The patch senses movement, surface electromyography, and electro-cardiac activity. A version for hospitals and health care providers, BioStampMD, is still in the works.
MC10 will sell two versions of the system: evaluation kits, at $2,500 ($950.00 for academic and non-profit researchers) will include 3 Sensors, 21 adhesives, a charger, a Samsung tablet, a tube of skin contact gel, and unlimited data access for three years. Discovery Kits, at $12,000 ($9,000 with the discount) will include 15 Sensors, 525 adhesives, 15 chargers, a Samsung tablet, two tubes of skin contact gel, and unlimited data access for three years.