The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a notice ofallowance to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF),for a patent for transdermal glucose monitoring. CygnusTherapeutic Systems (NASDAQ:CYGN) of Redwood City, Calif.,has an option to acquire the patent.

The allowed patent derives from collaborative research withUCSF and involves using iontophoresis, an electrically assistedtransport technology, to extract glucose through intact skin.

Richard Guy, a professor of pharmacy and pharmaceuticalchemistry at UCSF, was studying iontophoresis for drugdelivery through the skin when he realized that chemicalswere also being extracted from the body through the skin. Thisinsight led him to investigate the potential of iontophoresis inreverse as a diagnostic method. Cygnus has an option to acquirean exclusive license to the resulting patent.

"We have now tested the feasibility of the approach in humans,and we know we can extract glucose in measurable quanitiesthrough intact skin," Guy said. "We have preliminary resultsthat show that the extraction can be performed reproducibly in10 minutes, and that, at least for longer periods of extraction,there is a correlation between the extracted amounts and bloodlevels. Our next step is to extend these results to diabeticpatients."

Cygnus is conducting research and development on a non-invasive glucose monitoring device incorporating thistechnology to help diabetics more frequently monitor bloodglucose levels. Frequent monitoring can help control bloodsugar levels and significantly reduce serious complications ofdiabetes, such as blindness, kidney disease and nerve damage.-- Nancy Garcia

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