Recognition for non-invasive glucose-sensing technology

Dr Gin Jose, a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering and his team were named finalists in the Medical Devices and Diagnostics category.

The category was of the 2012 Medipex Innovation Competition, for their development of a non-invasive glucose-sensing technology.

Continuous monitoring of glucose levels with reduced ambiguity and minimal distress is vitally important for the efficient management of diabetes. Glucose is currently measured by finger-pricking and squeezing a drop of blood onto a test strip for measurement using a meter; this process has a high consumable cost, and is inconvenient and unsuitable for continuous monitoring.

The new glucose-sensing concept that Dr Jose and his team have developed is a sensor, comprising a nanophotonic device activated by low-power laser, which does not require finger-pricking. They have developed a non-invasive, multi-wavelength fluorescence, lifetime-based measurement concept which has the potential to be a patient-friendly, compact and wearable device valuable in the diagnosis and monitoring of several diseases, including diabetes. 

Dr Jose’s research, which was supported by research grants from EPSRC and NIHR i4i, has lead to several patents. The technology could enable continuous monitoring and generate a patient-specific glucose profile, enabling efficient treatment and self-monitoring and allowing new methodologies in diabetes management and tele-health implementation.

A license agreement was signed by the University of Leeds with NetScientific Ltd in June 2012 with the aim to form a spinoff to exploit the technology with significant investment. A joint project supported by NetScientific Ltd and University of Leeds Enterprise for device development is currently in progress to carry out pilot clinical investigations of the new medical device.  

The innovative technology was developed by an interdisciplinary research team consisting of Prof. Peter Grant and Dr Sikha Saha (Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics), Dr Rick Jones (Chemical Pathology), Prof Animesh Jha (IMR) and Dr. Paul Steenson (Institute for Microwave and Photonics).

The Medipex Innovation Competition is open to NHS staff members, academic teams and companies across the Yorkshire and the Humber, and East Midlands regions who have developed innovative ideas to improve patient care across the NHS. This year’s competition saw more entries than ever before, over 150 in total; with only 24 finalists shortlisted across the five categories, Dr Jose’s team did very well.