Award Winners 2009

Mini Implant Sensor for Non-Invasive Testing of Blood Sugar in Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus affects about 250 million people world- wide. Self-monitoring of blood sugar levels is a key aspect  of managing this condition. The sole method used to date has  been an invasive process of applying a drop of blood to a sensor  strip on a blood sugar monitoring device, which many patients  fi nd painful. This often leads to limited compliance and is counterproductive to encouraging a cooperative attitude to patient  management of the condition.

EyeSense GmbH, at its Bavarian location in Großostheim, has developed a hydro gel implant – containing fluorophores – as the carrier system, which is implanted under the conjunctiva of  the eye. The benefit of this location as a monitoring point is its  excellent implant tolerance and the fact that the mini sensor is surrounded by conjunctival fluid, which facilitates blood sugar  analysis. Depending on the concentration of glucose, fluorescent  light of different intensity is emitted by the biochemical implant  sensor, which is optically and non-invasively detected and eva- luated via a small photometer held in front of the eye without  actually touching it

As part of a Löhn Award-winning transfer project, laboratory experiments were initially carried out by the IVCRC Steinbeis  Research Center at the University Eye Clinic in Heidelberg to  determine the optimal monitoring position between the sensor  and photometer. At the same time, the implant was checked by  EyeSense for compatibility with frequently applied local medica- tions. As part of a Phase II study, clinical evaluation then began  in August 2008 under the auspices of the IVCRC. The process was  then successively improved by means of a regular exchange of  information between all involved. The IVCRC Steinbeis Research  Center initiated the development of an injector for optimal insertion of the implant. At the same time, EyeSense worked on  reducing the size of the implant and rounding off the edges. The  fi ndings of the first study cohorts are very promising. They indi- cate a good correlation between the readings of the mini sensor  and the reference method and also point to a high level of tole- rance for the implants.  The future goals of the collaborative venture are further evaluation and development of the implant, with the aim of producing a reliable and sustainable method of sub-conjunctival blood sugar  monitoring and bringing it to market.  

Project Partners

  • EyeSense GmbH, Großostheim
  • Steinbeis Research Centre International Vision Correction Research Centre (IVCRC), Heidelberg 

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