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S. Korea develops 'nanotechnology patch' for diabetes therapy

All Headlines 01:00 March 22, 2016

By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- A team of South Korean scientists announced Tuesday that they have developed a wearable device, based on nanotechnology, for more convenient diabetes monitoring and therapy.

The graphene-using "smart patch" has improved the accuracy of blood sugar level measurements as it checks not only glucose in sweat but also temperature and acidity, according to the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) located in Daejeon, some 160 kilometers south of Seoul.

Existing smart patches gauge blood sugar merely in sweat.

Google is working on "smart contact lens" with an ultra-tiny super sensitive glucose sensor for tear fluid. Its accuracy remains a question amid concerns about adverse effects on eye health.

The IBS' patch is used on the skin, enabling patients to monitor glucose levels in a "non-invasive" way via microneedles and inject insulin in a "painless and controlled delivery," said Kim Dae-hyeong, a researcher at the Center for Nanoparticle Research at the IBS.

The technology has been tested on mice in labs but clinical experiments on patients have yet to be done, added Kim, who doubles as a professor at Seoul National University.

Speaking to reporters, Kim admitted that there is still much to be desired in "perfecting" the measurements of glucose levels.

He added it would take at least a few years to commercialize the graphene-based patch, especially for drug delivery.

He has co-authored a related paper, along with his colleagues at the center, published online in the Nature Nanotechnology journal.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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