Texas A&M research could change how diabetics check levels
An implantable sensor that allows diabetics to more effectively monitor their blood-sugar levels is a step closer to reality, thanks to a researcher at Texas A&M University.
Melissa Grunlan, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, is developing a "self-cleaning" membrane that envelops an implanted glucose sensor, shielding it from the body's immune response that would otherwise render it nonfunctional.
Grunlan's work has been detailed in the scientific journal Soft Matter, and she has received a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue her research to overcome what is known as "biofouling," which occurs when an implanted sensor is rendered nonfunctional because of the human body's immune response that is triggered by a foreign object.
During this response, proteins and cells adhere and accumulate onto the surface of the sensor in an attempt to seal it off from the rest of the body. These adhered proteins and cells act as a barrier to inhibit glucose diffusion to the sensor so that the sensor is no longer capable of accurately measuring glucose levels, Grunlan said.