People with diabetes may have something to look forward to as monitoring of blood levels via finger-pricking could be replaced with just a breath in a matter of years.
According to a recent press release, a team of researchers from the University of Sydney had recently unveiled the breath ketone analyser at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s International Medical and Healthcare Fair.
The University is working collaboratively with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and an industrial partner to take the ketone monitoring device from the lab to the clinic for trials.
Following the fair, the industrial partner announced that it would be officially moving its operations to the Hong Kong Science Park.
It is a precinct of high-technology enterprises that will fast-track the device’s development.
According to Diabetes Australia, there are over 1.7 million Australians living with diabetes. Approximately 10% of which, are living with type 1 of the disease.
Breath ketone analyser
The device is being developed to allow people living with type 1 diabetes to better manage and detect incidences of ketoacidosis.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening medical emergency that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin.
This will cause the liver to produce high levels of ketones that damage the surrounding organs.
It results in over seven-thousand hospitalisations each year in Australia. In 2014, the estimated cost of diabetic ketoacidosis in NSW was AU$ 8.7million.
A researcher from the University’s Faculty of Engineering, who will lead the multidisciplinary group, believes the device will lead to a more accurate detection of ketoacidosis.
It will therefore lead to a more effective management of the disease.
Benefits of the device
The breath ketone analyser will be a less invasive and far more accurate way for people with diabetes to monitor their health.
It will measure blood ketone levels in the breath, similar to the process of a roadside breath testing.
The device has been calibrated to a high sensitivity and is based on an innovative sensing technique that is not affected by alcohol or other gasses.
People with diabetes need to monitor their ketones when they are sick and when they are at risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis.
There are several testing methods being used currently. Blood testing is one, but it is invasive and relatively expensive. As for urine testing, getting real time results can be problematic.
Meanwhile, this new device uses a person’s breath to measure ketone levels and is not invasive. Plus, it promises to be clinically accurate and less financially burdensome.
Breath ketone monitoring potentially offers a safe, reliable and on-demand way of monitoring ketones in the body using portable technology.
They are planning on making this exciting technology an affordable reality for people with diabetes.
Additionally, the device will also have the potential to monitor and assist several other diseases such as liver disease, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease.
The device shows how an Australian innovation can access Hong Kong capital and management expertise as well as global manufacturing supply chains to bring new products to market and contribute to growth of the New South Wales knowledge economy.
Hopefully, this will provide a pain free ketone monitoring experience to those suffering from debilitating diseases and life limiting illness in the near future.