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Wireless glucose sensor on its way?

Researchers have developed an implantable sensor that measures blood glucose levels continuously and transmits the information wirelessly. The sensor, however, has so far only been tested in pigs.

The small, round device is being touted as having the potential to overhaul the way people with diabetes control their condition. The sealed unit has a pair of sensors and the researchers claim it could be implanted in a person's torso with one sensor to detect oxygen while the other studies the reaction of oxygen and glucose. This information is then transmitted wirelessly through an integrated antenna.

Initially promising, but device a long way off

Diabetes UK warns the research is at a very early stage and a tested, workable device is a long way off.

Director of Research at Diabetes UK, Dr Iain Frame, said: "It's important to stress that this research is very much in the early stages, having only been tested for safety in two pigs, one for nearly ten months and the other for just over one year. It is therefore a long way from something that could be available to people with diabetes in the US or Europe within 'several years' as the developers claim.

"So many of these initially promising studies never make it past the first hurdle i.e. successful trials in humans. It is also unclear how this implant would benefit people with Type 2 diabetes, who account for 90 per cent of the 2.6 million cases of the condition in the UK."

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