Diabetes patients may have a new option for controlling their condition.
Researchers from the Center for Nanoparticle Research in South Korea have revealed a new wearable patch infused with graphene that can track blood glucose levels through sweat and deliver treatment when needed.
Graphene’s chemical properties show promise for developing wearable technology, according to Nature. The material is malleable, transparent, thin, and can conduct electricity.
However, the scientists fused a combination of gold particles and gold mesh into the patch to improve the graphene component’s ability to sense elevated sugar levels.
The patch uses a collection of sensors to scan for pH levels in sweat and temperature changes, which indicates a high glucose level. Micro needles built into the patch will then activate in order to deliver metformin, a common drug used to treat diabetes, explains Nature.
Test subjects so far have included diabetic mice as well as two adult men with diabetes, but Popular Science says the drug delivery aspect of the device needs to be scaled up before it can continue human trials.
This product, though, could become a viable alternative to treat this disease instead of the current method, which entails multiple finger pricks per day to monitor blood glucose levels and then use an insulin injection to keep these levels low.
The team’s research was published in the Nature Nanotechnology journal.