Diabetes mellitus: biosensors for research and management

Biosensors
A P Turner, J C Pickup

Abstract

The condition of diabetes mellitus is described with particular reference to the parameters that it would be desirable to monitor in order to improve management and understanding of the disease. Previous attention has largely focused on analysis of glucose, but many other intermediates of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism are deranged in diabetes and may be alternative measures of control. The need for laboratory analysers, self-monitoring, closed-loop devices and alarms are detailed and the problems associated with implantable sensors discussed. Progress in the development of biosensors is reviewed using glucose sensors as the main example. Electrochemical, optoelectronic and calorimetric approaches to sensing are considered and it is concluded that configurations based either on hydrogen peroxide detection or on mediated electron transfer are most likely to provide a raid route to in vivo monitoring. The extension of biosensor technology to tackle other important substrates is discussed, the principal hurdle to success being seen as the lack of long-term stability of the biological component.

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