Scientists have successfully tested a prototype grapheme-based electronic skin patch in mice that delivers the correct dose of drug when it senses elevated glucose level. The patch could be welcome relief to diabetics who now have to prick their finger to determine sugar levels.
The sweat-based diabetes monitoring and feedback therapy patch is the brainchild of scientists from the US and Korea. The stretchable patch sits on the skin and detects the level of glucose in the wearer's sweat. If the level goes above a programmed amount, it triggers heaters embedded in the patch to dissolve the coating on micro-needles so they release an appropriate amount of drug through the skin.
The scientists say the components need to be scaled up before the patch is ready for human trials. Graphene is a revolutionary new, 2D nanomaterial made of extremely thin flakes of carbon that are only one atom thick. The patch contains an array of sensors that detect not only glucose, but other properties of sweat, such as temperature, humidity and pH, so as to eliminate the effect these can have on glucose and thus arrive at a reliable measurement.