A new laser sensor that monitors blood glucose
levels without penetrating the skin could transform the lives of millions of people
living with diabetes. Currently, many people with diabetes need
to measure their blood glucose levels by pricking their fingers, squeezing drops of blood onto
test strips, and processing the results with portable glucometers. The process can be uncomfortable, messy and
often has to be repeated several times every day. The new technology, developed by Professor
Gin Jose and a team at the University of Leeds, uses a small device with low-powered lasers
to measure blood glucose levels without penetrating the skin. It could give people a simpler, pain-free
alternative to finger pricking. The technology has continuous monitoring capabilities
making it ideal for development as a wearable device. This could help improve the lives of millions
of people by enabling them to constantly monitor their glucose levels without the need for
an implant. It is also good news for healthcare providers
as it could provide a simpler and cheaper alternative to both of the current methods
– finger pricking, which uses disposable sample strips, or invasive continuous monitors,
which use implanted sensors that need regular replacement.

This technology is licensed to Glucosense
Diagnostics, a spin-out company jointly formed and funded by the University of Leeds and
NetScientific plc, At the heart of this new technology is a piece
of nano-engineered silica glass with ions that fluoresce in infrared light when a low
power laser light hits them. When the glass is in contact with the users’
skin, the extent of fluorescence signal varies in relation to the concentration of glucose
in their blood. The device measures the length of time the
fluorescence lasts for and uses that to calculate the glucose level in a person’s bloodstream
without the need for a needle. This process takes less than 30 seconds..