Saliva glucose biosensor – World-first needle-free diabetes test

Professor Alex Zelinsky AO from University of Newcastle has developed Saliva glucose biosensor that can test for type 1 and type 2 diabetes without using needle.

Saliva glucose biosensor is similar in size to a stick of chewing gum and considerably thinner, was incredibly powerful, detecting substances that exist in saliva in minute concentrations.

One of the key challenges the team had was the sheer unavailability of glucose in saliva (With saliva glucose concentrations 100 times lower than in blood). It exists in minute concentrations, so you need to develop an incredibly powerful platform to detect it. Saliva also contains a plethora of other substances, so you’ve then got to tune out a lot of ‘noise’ to ensure results are accurate.

Coated with a natural enzyme – Glucose Oxidase – the biosensor interacts with saliva, producing a reaction that generates an electrical current. This current can be detected and measured to reveal highly accurate glucose levels which could be delivered via a smartphone app and the data stored in the cloud.

The biosensor is a ‘platform technology’, which means it will be widely applicable to detect a variety of substances that identify a range of diseases. Team is already looking for the substances that identify cancer, hormones and allergies.