Transdermal Patient Monitoring

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Control of blood glucose levels through glucose measurement and insulin injection can reduce the occurrence of complications in Type 1 diabetes and those Type 2 diabetics who test blood glucose daily. Methods such as the “finger-stick” technique have proven expensive, cumbersome and painful to use. In addition to diabetes, control of blood glucose levels, and that of some other small molecules, can also play a key role in some very important hospital based interventions, not least in intensive care monitoring. A team at the University of Strathclyde has pioneered the first programmable device for measuring blood glucose levels. It can also be used to detect other blood circulating molecules such as lactate. 


The non-invasive reverse iontophoresis (RI) based transdermal patient monitoring technology is capable of detecting and measuring, either intermittently or continuously, one or more small molecules, e.g. glucose and lactate, in real time. The technique works by extracting small molecules, such as glucose and lactate, from the patient using a gel electrode site on the patient’s skin.

The project was subsequently been funded through Scottish Enterprise’s Proof of Concept (POC) fund. This resulted in a skin electrode/biosensor system capable of detecting and measuring glucose and lactate in real time. The development of this system and a successful clinical study of it in Glasgow have confirmed the novelty and the practicality of the approach. The new device addresses the perceived shortcomings of past RI based glucose measurement devices.

Key Benefits

  • Increased convenience due to non-invasive nature of the device.
  • Portable.
  • Extracts a number of blood circulating molecules for a wide variety of analytical uses.
  • Will aid more successful monitoring due to increased patient compliance gained through the reduced need for painful injections.
  • Home, clinic and hospital based applicability.
  • Other small molecules may be detected transdermally by this method. 

Markets and Applications

Two glucose monitoring markets have been identified – home testing for diabetics and hospital based clinical applications e.g. intensive care.

The market for continuous glucose monitoring is likely to be drawn from Type 1 diabetics and those Type 2 diabetics who test blood glucose daily - ca. 1.6M patients in the US alone. A US government study estimates that US hospitals are currently spending $500M to perform conventional blood glucose assays, it further estimates that this will grow to >$1Bn per year.

Licensing and Development

Contact is welcomed from organisations interested in developing, licensing or exploiting this technology. The University of Strathclyde is securing patent protection for the technology.

For further information, please contact Dr.Alan Lindsay (Industrial Manager) on telephone +44 (0)141 548 4110, fax +44 (0)141 552 6098 or email


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