According to the estimates of the Wold Health Organization (WHO), the number of people with diabetes will increase from 177 million in 2000 to 300 million by 2025. It is also estimated that 9% of all death worldwide are due to diabetes. Although diabetes is presently not curable, intesive insulin therapy in diabetic patients can dramatically delay the onset of serious complications. It is demonstrated that tight or continuous blood glucose control can introduce substatial reductions in overall medical care costs. To date, implantable glucose sensors are all based on surface chemical reactions. Such sensors are very stable, accurate and sensitive in vitro. However, once the sensors are implanted, the stability and reliability reduces dramatically after a few days owing in large part to fouling of the sensor surface by proteinaceous material. They can therefore not be used for long term implantation. Using a spectrometric device encapsulated in a transparent, biocompatible material, long term in vivo operation of glucose sensors could be realized, justifying the surgical procedure to implant the device.
While the impact of a CGM-implant would be huge, there are several scientific advances needed and important risks to be addressed. While the essential know-how is available, several technologies have to be further investigated and developed with a strong focus on the multidisciplinary context of this work.