Researchers improve diabetes monitoring

Scientists from Bath are developing techniques to screen blood for signs of diabetes, or diseases like as Alzheimer's.

A new way of monitoring blood glucose control in diabetes is a step closer to market thanks to a partnership between researchers from the University and leading medical device company glySure Ltd.

In March scientists from Bath showcased a new technique that could be used in blood tests to screen for diabetes and an array of age-related conditions, including Alzheimer's.

By detecting levels of 'glycated proteins' in blood and , the researchers from the University's Department of Biology & Biochemistry and Department of Chemistry revealed a method to assess damage caused by sugars in age-related diseases.

With the ageing process, proteins in the body react with sugars in what's known as 'glycation'. This damages how certain proteins work and can lead to inflammation or premature ageing.

Through the new technique, developed at Bath, blood samples are put into a thin gel layer and an electric current applied. The gel then acts like a sieve, sorting proteins present according to their size and shape. By using boronic acid labelled with a fluorescent tag, researchers can distinguish between glycated and unmodified proteins, and can also separate glycated proteins from those that have been glycosylated.

Dr Jean van den Elsen explains: "Glycosylation is a normal process in healthy cells where sugars are attached to proteins using enzymes, whereas 'glycation' is damaging for proteins and cells.

"This method allows scientists to identify signature profiles of glycated proteins linked to particular diabetic conditions. In the future the same method could be applied to new technologies to screen for diseases like Alzheimer's."

Professor Tony James added: "We are very excited about working with glySure Ltd on this very exciting project which will take our lab-based research a step closer to helping diagnose and treat people with conditions such as and Alzheimer's disease."

glySure's Barry Crane continued: "glySure Ltd is very happy to be working with the University of Bath on this exciting cost share project. The results of which will help in the design of the next generation of medical sensors for the continuous measurement of glucose in Intensive Care Units."

Related Stories

Grilled, seared foods may add to waistlines, disease risk

date Dec 12, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—A steak slapped onto a hot barbecue will leave the meat with black grill lines that add flavor and aroma, but the chemicals contained in charred, seared and fried foods may over time kick-start ...

New chemical approach to treat Alzheimer's

date May 29, 2013

Scientists at the University of Liverpool and Callaghan Innovation in New Zealand have developed a new chemical approach to help harness the natural ability of complex sugars to treat Alzheimer's disease.

Recommended for you

Faster heart rate linked to diabetes risk

date May 22, 2015

An association between resting heart rate and diabetes suggests that heart rate measures could identify individuals with a higher future risk of diabetes, according to an international team of researchers.

EBV co-infection may boost malaria mortality in childhood

date May 21, 2015

Many people who live in sub-Saharan Africa develop a natural immunity to malaria, through repeated exposure to Plasmodium parasites. Even so, the disease kills close to half a million children per year, according ...

Three important things you didn't know about diabetes

date May 21, 2015

When we think of diabetes, we tend to think of rich people with poor lifestyles. A chronic disease linked with obesity, heart disease and worse outcomes for some infectious diseases, diabetes tends to be ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.