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Biomedical Engineering

Non-invasive optical sensor for the monitoring of blood glucose in diabetes

Principle investigator

Professor P. A. Kyriacou


Dr V. Rybynok

Project overview

Currently, blood glucose can only be monitored through the use of invasive techniques which involve drawing blood through a small pinprick. The market is very large as all of the 194 million diabetics (2005 figures from IDF) in the world are potential users of the sensor. This represents a potential $20 billion market. The number of diabetics in the UK has increased since 1996 from 1.4 to 1.8 million people. Worldwide it is expected to grow from 150 million in 2004 to 220 million by 2010 and 300 million by 2025. We are proposing to develop an easy to use non-invasive and calibration free finger optical sensor for the accurate and continuous measurement of blood glucose. This will be accomplished by using a novel patented technology we have developed previously, named Dynamic Pulsatile Spectroscopy (DPS).

The need to monitor blood glucose regularly is paramount in managing diabetes and in preventing future complications such as renal failure and blindness. The most commonly used methods currently involve obtaining a small blood sample and using a bed side or home assay kit. However, repeated attempts to obtain blood from pin prick lances are painful and a deterrent particularly in children. If a completely non-invasive method to determine blood glucose concentrations could be established this would have significant implication for the diabetic community on the management of diabetes. It could have a significant on preventing long term morbidity. There would also be significant gains in of health economics terms by reducing the demand on service from the NHS.