Atomic oxygen-textured surfaces for blood glucose monitoring

Award Year 

A team from NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) harnessed the power of oxygen as a single atom, called atomic oxygen, to sim-ulate the low-Earth orbital environment for testing the deterioration of spacecraft sur-faces. The innovators have since found sev-eral commercial uses for the corrosive power of atomic oxygen, including cleaning organic material from paintings, detecting document forgeries, enabling chrome coating to adhere better to brass faucets, and cleaning organic contaminants from surgical implants. Their most (more) recent use of atomic oxygen has been to create a device that reliably measures blood glucose levels using a smaller skin prick than traditional options, requiring only a miniscule amount of blood to be drawn and allowing it to be drawn from areas other than the fingertip.NASA GRC holds four patents pertaining to atomic oxygen uses. The two most recent patents, both issued in December 2007, de-scribe a method of texturing a hydrocarbon surface to separate the cellular components in blood, allowing unfettered optical sensing of glucose concentration. To implement this technology transfer opportunity, NASA GRC has been collaborating with QuestStar Med-ical of Eden Prairie, Minnesota.QuestStar Medical, which specializes in medical diagnostic equipment, began partic-ipating in a series of Space Act Agreements with NASA GRC in 2003, with the most re-cent agreement continuing into 2007. These collaborations resulted in a prototype blood glucose meter called the Light Pointe Medi-cal Focus Blood Glucose Monitor for point-of-care and home use. The device promises to significantly lower the cost of blood glu-cose monitoring as well as provide faster, easier, and less painful monitoring. With the device, blood can be drawn from anywhere on the body, rather than only from the sen-sitive fingertip, encouraging more frequent monitoring and thus better potential for controlling blood glucose levels. This new blood glucose monitoring meter is expected to benefit the millions of adults and children with diabetes who must test their blood glu-cose levels several times a day. (less)