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UI researchers win $294,000 grant to develop noninvasive blood sugar
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A University of Iowa multidisciplinary research team
has received a two-year, $294,000 grant to develop novel semiconductor
materials for use in a bloodless, light-based system for measuring blood
sugar levels. The research, funded by the National Institute of Diabetes
and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), may someday alter the control
and treatment of juvenile diabetes.
The principal investigators, all of whom are members of the UI's Optical
Science and Technology Center (OSTC), are: Mark A. Arnold, professor of
chemistry; Thomas C. Hasenberg and Michael E. Flatté, professors
of physics and astronomy; Winston K. Chan, professor of electrical and
computer engineering; and Thomas F. Boggess, professor of physics and astronomy
and electrical and computer engineering.
Arnold, who has been working on a noninvasive, blood glucose monitoring
device for more than 10 years, said that a system that replaces numerous
finger sticks and test-strip glucose meters with a harmless beam of light
could indirectly improve the health of people with diabetes.
"The idea is to pass a harmless beam of light through the body
and then extract information on the glucose concentration from the resulting
spectral information. Such a noninvasive glucose monitor would enable
painless blood glucose testing, which should increase the frequency of
testing for persons with diabetes. More frequent testing will allow greater
control of blood sugar levels, thereby reducing the long-term medical complications
caused by chronic hyperglycemia," he said.
Arnold noted that the project, which is being conducted within the Iowa
Advanced Technology Laboratories building, has been limited primarily by
the lack of availability of a high-quality detector to measure the exact
wavelengths of light containing information on blood glucose levels. He
said that the UI's OSTC multidisciplinary research team will develop new
detectors dedicated to these specific wavelengths. These detectors will
be prepared from novel semiconductor materials.
"Once prepared, the materials will be configured as high-quality
photo-receivers and tested as the detector element in our noninvasive blood
glucose instrumentation," Arnold said. "This innovative research
effort is made possible by the unique combinations of talents and research
interests of the OSTC faculty."