UNAM develops portable device to diagnose diabetes

The device will also help doctors in remote communities diagnose their patients and begin timely treatments
Diabetes test at free medical clinic in Los Angeles, California – Photo: Mario Anzuoni/REUTERS
06/12/2017
12:03
Teresa Moreno
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Scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) developed a portable device capable of generating hormone profiles of patients, in order to know whether they are at risk of suffering from diabetes or other ailments – with just one blood drop.

This biosensor detects and counts the number of molecules within a sample of a bodily fluid, such as blood.

Through the combination of methods of immunodetection and electrochemical analysis, the sensor can determine the levels of insulin, testosterone, prolactin, sugar in the blood, cholesterol, creatinine, uric acid, and triglycerides. Thanks to the readings obtained, a person could be then diagnosed with diabetes.

“We're presenting a portable sensor which can work on a cell phone. The idea is to lower costs through microtechnology” and “give access to this technology to doctors and patients,” said Mathieu Christian Anne Hautefeuille, one of the developers of this project.

The biosensor has a chip in which the patient will deposit a blood drop, and the device will run the tests.

“The chip will then be inserted in a reader which will extract the data and return the results to generate a report for the doctor, or the patient, if needed,” explained the scientist.

“One of the advantages is that you can run this tests several times a day and it will continue generating a report, and with enough data, you can know whether you are prediabetic or suffering from a thyroid problem.”

The chip can then be washed and reused by the same person – eliminating the need of buying several strips.

Additionally to individual use, the device will also help doctors in remote communities diagnose their patients and begin timely treatments.

The team of the Faculty of Sciences currently working on the project will present it in 2018, and they are also working on having their device detect other diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS.

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