June 18, 2008 - Georgetown University, Gentag Inc. and Science Applications International Corp. have combined forces to develop a noninvasive method for glucose measurement using skin patches.
The three technology leaders agreed to combine their respective intellectual property and expertise to create a new method to monitor glucose, using disposable skin patches with wireless sensors and cell phones. The resulting products could eliminate the need for finger pricking with lancets to draw blood for people of all ages with diabetes.
The combined technology will enable the development of a unique new platform and approach for glucose monitoring and insulin delivery using cell phones. One potential market application could be a disposable, wireless skin patch that measures glucose levels and reports those levels to a cell phone that could also wirelessly control an insulin pump.
By using soft, flexible skin patches, combined with new sensor-chip technology, the traditional pain and discomfort of the current finger prick technology could be dramatically reduced or eliminated. The patches would be designed to provide readings once every hour for a 24-hour period. Using cell phones as readers would allow for convenience of a device many already use and are familiar with, as well as many other benefits, including emergency geolocation of patients.
With funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at the Department of Defense, John Currie, a professor of physics and director of Georgetown Advanced Electronics Laboratory (GAEL), Mak Paranjape, an associate professor of physics and researcher at GAEL Health Microsystems at Georgetown, and SAIC researchers Thomas Schneider and Robert White, who worked in the area of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), initially developed the skin patch technology to monitor the status of soldiers in a battlefield.
The SAIC and Georgetown glucose sensor technology has been developed for DARPA and can be combined with Gentag's cell phone RFID-sensor reader platform technology.
Under the terms of the agreement, Gentag, Georgetown and SAIC have agreed to pool their IP and to sell or license the combined technology to a company developing glucose monitors or insulin-delivery systems under a competitive bidding process. The technology is protected by 21 issued and pending U.S. and international patents.
Diabetes is a growing international health problem. In the U.S. medical expenditures totaled $116 billion in 2007 and were comprised of $27 billion for diabetes care, $58 billion for chronic diabetes-related complications, and $31 billion for excess general medical costs, according to the American Diabetes Association.