A faster way to help diabetics

London, UK-based Quotient Diagnostics is developing an innovative method of monitoring glucose in diabetics that is easier and quicker than existing methods.

At present, the most accurate assessment of diabetes is achieved through the measurement of the percentage of haemoglobin molecules that are glycated – a test known as HbA1c.

That’s because the amount of glucose that is bound to haemoglobin is directly tied to the concentration of glucose in the blood. Since red blood cells have a lifespan of approximately 90 days, measuring the amount of glucose bound to haemoglobin can provide an assessment of average blood sugar control during the 90 days prior to the HbA1c test.

Although this method yields far more accurate data on the patient’s condition over time than simple blood glucose monitoring, the vast majority of HbA1c testing is carried out in laboratories or specialist diabetes clinics on complex analytical systems that are time-consuming and costly.

Quotient’s method, on the other hand, uses the fluorescent properties of a patented reagent to measure the glycated haemoglobin. And the company’s researchers believe that by employing this method, they will be able to develop inexpensive instruments that will match the performance of more expensive traditional laboratory devices.

The company is being supported in its efforts with help from a £90,000 investment from UK-based NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts).