Many people with diabetes have a difficult time managing their blood glucose levels. A new type of self-monitoring blood glucose sensor is now under development by Arizona State University (ASU) engineers along with clinicians at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.
The ASU-Mayo research team began the project with funds from a seed grant from Mayo Clinic and assistance provided by ASU students involved in research at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, and ASU’s undergraduate Research Initiative program.
The new sensor being developed enables people to draw tear fluid from their eyes to get a glucose-level test sample. Glucose in tear fluid may give an indication of glucose levels in the blood as accurately as a test using a blood sample, the researchers report.
Jeffrey T. LaBelle the designer of the device technology is leading the ASU-Mayo research team along with Mayo Clinic physicians Curtiss B Cook, an endocrinologist and Dharmendra Patel, Chair of Mayo’s Department of Surgical Ophthalmology. The team has come up with a device that can be dabbed in the corner of the eye and is capable of absorbing a small amount of tear fluid like a wick that can then be used to measure glucose.
The major challenges are to perform the test quickly and efficiently with reproducible results, without letting the test sample evaporate and without stimulating a stress response that causes people to rub their eyes intensely.
Because of the possible impact on healthcare, the technology is of interest to BioAccel, an Arizona nonprofit that helps to bring biomedical technologies to the marketplace. “A critical element to commercialization is the validation of the technology through proof-of-concept testing” reports Nikki Corday BioAccel Business and Development Manager. “Positive results will help ensure that the data is available to help the research team clear the technical hurdles to commercialization.”
With funding provided by BioAccel , the research team will conduct critical experiments to determine how well the new device correlates with the use of current technology that uses blood sampling said Ron King, BioAccel’s Chief Scientific and Business Office. King also explained that the results should help to secure downstream funding for further development work from such sources as NIH.