December 16, 2011
Amritapuri and Coimbatore campuses
Managing diabetes is a life-long commitment with four essential ingredients.
1. A healthy eating plan with moderate food intake at regular intervals
2. A daily exercise routine
3. Proper medication management
4. Long lasting and affordable glucose biosensor
The first three elements require patient compliance, the last relies on scientific ingenuity.
Millions of diabetic patients around the world test their blood glucose levels daily. They use enzymatic glucose biosensors, which are actually very expensive. Also, their insufficient long-term stability is a serious flaw.
These biosensors use enzymes as bio-receptors; due to the intrinsic nature of enzymes, long-term stability is difficult to obtain.
“Sensor strips currently available in the market have a limited life, as enzymes lose their activity after a certain number of weeks,” explains Dr. Satheesh Babu, Assistant Professor, Department of Sciences, School of Engineering, Coimbatore campus.
Dr. Satheesh is working on a project at the Amrita Biomedical Engineering Research Center on campus to develop a new glucose biosensor that will address these limitations.
The Center recently received a substantial research grant from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, for this work. The work will be led by Dr. Bipin Nair, Dean, Amrita School of Biotechnology at Amritapuri campus; Dr. Ramachandran T. and Dr. Satheesh Babu will be the two co-investigators at Coimbatore campus.
“New biosensing concepts will be used to overcome the challenge of providing reliable and tight glycemic control,” explains Dr. Satheesh.
“The active bioreceptor part of the sensor will not be an enzyme or any other biosystem, rather a modified electrode. This non-enzymatic glucose biosensor will be made from nanomaterials. This lasting solution will provide greater value for money also.”
“There are many advantages in using non-enzymatic sensors including stability, simplicity, reproducibility and no oxygen limitation,” he adds.
The Amrita team will fabricate, characterize and test the non-enzymatic glucose biosensor using various metal and metal-oxide nanoparticles, nanotubes and nanowires.
“Nanomaterials provide a large increase in effective surface area and hence give a high sensitivity and selectivity to the electrochemical oxidation of glucose,” he says.
The development of the ideal non-enzymatic glucose biosensor is Amrita’s way of assuring that science is doing its part so that diabetic patients may have effective and affordable long-term treatment.