Scientists have developed an implantable sensor that continuously measures blood sugar in patients with diabetes, according to a study published in Wednesday’s issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Researchers led by Bioengineering Professor David Gough at UCSD implanted in two pigs (222 and 520 days, respectively) the device which successfully transmitted the information without wires to an external receiver.

"You can run the device for a year or more with it constantly working, and recording glucose quite satisfactorily," Gough said in a statement.

The wireless telemetry CGM used in the pig was about 1.5 inches in diameter and 5/8 inch thick. Through a sensor that detects oxygen in the tissue where it is implanted, the device could report glucose levels to a receiver 10 to 12 feet away.

The researchers hope to begin the first human trial in a few months. If human testing is successful and the device receives FDA approval, patients with type 2 diabetes may not have to poke themselves to draw blood to check blood sugar levels. Soon, diabetics may be able to use their cell phones to receive information from glucose monitors according to Gough.

Scientists have also been working to develop “artificial pancrease” to deliver insulin to patients with type 1 diabetes.
An estimated 180 million people with diabetes may benefit from the new device.

"There are parents with diabetic children who spend their nights worrying that their child in a nearby bedroom may go into nocturnal hypoglycemia," Gough said. An implanted sensor could send an alarm to a parent if the child's glucose levels dropped to a dangerous level.