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Wearable, Non-invasive Diabetes Treatment Device Developed in South Korea

July 2016

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A non-invasive treatment for diabetes monitoring and drug delivery has been developed by South Korean researchers at The Institute for Basic Science (IBS) Center for Nanoparticle Research located in Seoul, South Korea.

The device, a graphene-based patch, uses a hybrid of gold-doped graphene and a serpentine gold mesh to measure pH (blood acidity level) and temperature by measuring the amount of glucose in sweat. If abnormally high levels of glucose are detected, an insulin drug such as metformin is released into a patient’s bloodstream via drug-loaded microneedles. The hybrid graphene represents an improvement over the original in that it still has high carrier mobility, conductivity, flexibility and optical transparency, with the added benefit of gold, which allows for improved electrochemical activity and stable transfer of electrical signals.

The patch itself is complex, consisting of a heater, temperature, humidity, glucose, and pH sensors and polymeric microneedles that can be thermally activated to deliver drugs transcutaneously; however, the device represents an improvement over current, often-painful, inconvenient, and costly treatments that require regular physician visits. The device is non-invasive, painless, and stress-free, and researchers are hopeful that it will reduce lengthy and expensive doctor/pharmacy visit cycles.

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