By Andy Choi
People suffering from type-1 diabetes can conveniently monitor their blood sugar levels by using the new sensor LT-30 from GluSense. This implantable chip-based sensor can free them from the daily chore of daily blood tests.
The LT-30 can be placed beneath the abdomen skin for measuring the sugar level and sending appropriate messages to an implanted insulin pump in the body.
The conventional blood sugar monitors require calibration many times in a day and last only for a week. The new idea that scientists have devised consists of placing a monitor outside the body (which has already been tested) and another inside the body (this is in the prototype stage). The LT-30 on the other hand required calibration only twice a week and it lasts for a whole month. The mechanism inside the LT-30 consists of genetically-engineered human cells that are of two colours red and blue. The pattern, in which these cells move, is based on the glucose level in the blood. These cells are capable of self-renewal and hence need to be replaced only once a year. The second monitor, which employs the same mechanism, is placed under the skin of the abdomen. The insulin pump responds to the signal from these monitors and appropriately alters the level of insulin in the body.
Cathy Moulton, who is the clinical advisor of charity diabetes UK, regards the new sensor as a promising solution but feels that the usage of the monitor would be limited by the cost and the accessibility factor.