Genetically modified skin grafts could monitor glucose, end needle sticks for diabetes

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Painful and inconvenient, needle sticks are part of daily life for many people with diabetes. Wouldn’t it be great if there were some high-tech wearable that could monitor blood glucose levels continuously and noninvasively — that is, without the need to pierce the skin?

Working with rodents, [University of Chicago scientists] endowed skin itself with the ability to track blood glucose and are at work on a system that could give at-a-glance insights into all kinds of blood values. The team, led by cell biologist Dr. Xiaoyang Wu, used stem cells and the gene-editing technique CRISPR to create skin cells that emit fluorescent light in a particular pattern as blood glucose levels rise.

[T]he skin sensor-and-device combination could make possible continuous, noninvasive monitoring of blood levels of cholesterol, sodium, iron, bilirubin, and liver and kidney enzymes as well as glucose.

Wu is hopeful that the graft and device technology will be commercially available within a decade. And there’s more: Wu previously created skin cell grafts that can boost the production of insulin, the hormone people with diabetes take to lower blood glucose levels. By combining sugar-monitoring and insulin-treatment grafts, patients may someday be spared both glucose-testing finger sticks and insulin injections.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Will High-Tech Skin Put an End to Needle Sticks for Diabetes?

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