Microneedle wearable continuously monitors glucose, lactate, alcohol

UCSD Professor Joe Wang and colleagues have created a multiple biomarker monitor in the form of a painless microneedle patch, which Wang calls a “complete lab on the skin.” Glucose, lactate and alcohol levels are monitored simultaneously, in real time.

Microneedles enable the direct sample of interstitial fluid, which provides a similar measure of biochemical levels as blood.

The researchers gave the example of diabetes as a use case, as alcohol can lower glucose levels, and fatigue, measured by lactate, can influence the body’s ability to regulate glucose. Monitoring all three parameters at the same time could, therefore, better help diabetics manage their condition.

Five users wore the device on their upper arm, while exercising, eating, and drinking wine. Glucose levels were monitored simultaneously with either their alcohol or lactate levels. The glucose, alcohol and lactate measurements taken by the wearable patch closely matched the measurements taken by a commercial blood glucose monitor, Breathalyzer, and blood lactate measurement performed in the lab.

The company AquilX was established to commercialize the technology, with plans to add more sensors to the device, including those that can monitor medication levels.

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