Diabetes is one of the major causes of illness and premature death and the World Health Organisation believes the disease has reached epidemic proportions.
To manage diabetes, sufferers are required to measure blood glucose levels up to 10 times each day by piercing skin on the finger to collect a sample, making testing painful and invasive.
The inventor has developed a new organic electronic sensing device by combining the material properties of polymers with the electronic properties of conventional semiconductors.
Using these polymers, novel technological applications such as disposable printed electronic circuits are now possible.
Utilising this technology, the invention consists of sensors that integrate glucose oxidase enzyme into an organic thin film structure capable of sensing blood sugar concentrations 100 times lower than commercial glucose sensors.
The invention shows potential use in a low-cost saliva-based test for diabetes.
Professor Paul Dastoor, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Newcastle, Australia
Dr Dastoor is a Professor in Physics in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the director of the Centre for Organic Electronics at the University of Newcastle in Australia.
His expertise covers surface analysis, electron spectroscopy, thin film growth, organic electronics, organosilane chemsitry, polymer films, atom beam optics and microscopy and medical devices.
His research can be grouped in 3 main areas: (1) Helium Atom Microscopy, (2) Polymer Adsorption on Metal Surfaces and (3) Organic Electronic Devices.
Potential features and benefits
- Low cost, high impact
- Painless blood glucose testing
The device is currently at proof-of-concept stage.
Potential application and market opportunities
The International Diabetes Foundation estimates around 366 million people have diabetes and expect this number to rise to over 550 million by 2030 if urgent action is not taken.
These organic film sensors can be printed at extremely low cost and are 100 times more sensitive than commercial glucose sensors.
This invention offers the potential for blood glucose monitoring based on a saliva test that will be cheaper, convenient and painless to the hundreds of millions of diabetes sufferer’s worldwide.
A provisional patent titled Organic thin film transistors and the use thereof in sensing applications was filed on 6 March 2012.
Expressions of interest are sought for licensing partnerships with a view to production.