Transdermal Diagnostics: non-invasive, affordable, continuous glucose monitoring for diabetes management and prevention

Project: Central government, health and local authorities

Project Details


Diabetes is a huge, global health problem and a significant economic burden on the NHS and other healthcare systems. Worldwide, over 460M people have diabetes and 10% of these are Type I and need insulin injections to control the amount of sugar (specifically, glucose) in their blood. The (growing) majority, however, live with Type 2 diabetes and are not, at least in the earlier stages of the disease, insulin-dependent. Furthermore, there are nearly 380M adults with prediabetes but only ~15% have been diagnosed. Close monitoring and control of blood glucose levels is therefore a major medical priority in the management of diabetes.

The very expensive continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices presently on the market are aimed at Type 1s undergoing intensive treatment with insulin and involve implantation of a small needle or fibre under the skin and long-term wear. In contrast, Type 2s, people with prediabetes and Type 1s without access to these CGMs rely almost exclusively on infrequent and unpleasant "fingerpricking" to monitor their blood sugar and do so, unsurprisingly, with reluctance, resulting in very poor control of their glucose levels. The potential market for a non-invasive and needle-free, technology in this significant and growing sector of diabetic healthcare is therefore clear.

This project aims to develop the first truly needle- and calibration-free monitor for CGM that is low-cost and widely accessible as a result. Our monitor specifically accesses hair follicles to extract a very small volume of the fluid which bathes the living cells in the skin. This fluid contains glucose at a level which is very similar to that in the blood. Our game-changing approach, therefore, is an affordable device that communicates with a mobile phone via a customised app - all within a wearable patch, with disposable components. The goal is a discreet, affordable and user-friendly device for people with diabetes that significantly slows down, or even prevents, the progression of their condition and enables blood glucose levels to be monitored and controlled in a completely painless manner.
Effective start/end date1/07/2231/10/23

Collaborative partners


  • Innovate UK


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