(HealthDay News) – A hand-held breathalyzer that detects a marker of blood glucose levels may be useful for patients with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, held from Nov. 10–14 in San Antonio.

Ronny Priefer, PhD, from THE Western New England University College of Pharmacy in Springfield, MA, and colleagues used a multilayer thin film approach consisting of films of poly(4-vinylbenzeneboronic acid) and poly(allylamine hydrochloride) to detect acetone, a biomarker of blood glucose levels, in the breath. Films of the two polymers of up to 50 layers were produced using layer-by-layer assembly.

The researchers found that the two polymers could be cross-linked by acetone vapor only, which altered the physicochemical nature of the film. A hand-held device was developed that is currently the size of a book, but is being further miniaturized to the size of breathalyzers typically used to analyze blood alcohol levels. Two clinics will perform controlled testing with patients in late 2014 to early 2015.

“We have been able to engineer a hand-held breathalyzer device to detect acetone in the breath of diabetic individuals and are attempting to optimize its capabilities,” Priefer and colleagues write.

More Information