Patch could end diabetic blood tests

A non-invasive patch which measures glucose levels through the skin could eliminate the need for millions of diabetics to carry out finger-prick blood tests.

The patch, developed by scientists at Bath University, draws out glucose from fluid between cells across hair follicles.

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It uses miniature sensors with a small electric current which operates across a small area - crucially, not piercing the skin.

Glucose is then measured, with readings taken every 10 to 15 minutes over several hours.

The array of sensors on the patch mean calibration with a blood sample is not required, making finger-prick blood tests unnecessary.

The research team hope the patch will become a low-cost, wearable sensor that can send glucose measurements to a patient's phone, thus alerting them if they may need to take action.

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Professor Richard Guy, of the university’s Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, said: “A needle-less method to monitor blood sugar has proven a difficult goal to attain.

“The closest that has been achieved has required either at least a single-point calibration with a classic ‘finger-stick’.

“The monitor developed at Bath promises to be an essential contribution in the fight to combat the ever-increasing global incidence of diabetes.”