New research shows Type 1 diabetes can be detected through skin analysis

MedPharm CSO co-authors Nature paper into using residual surface skin components as biomarkers.

MedPharm Chief Scientific Officer, Prof Marc Brown has co-authored a paper on the non-invasive detection of Type 1 diabetes in potential suffers by analysing the residual surface components of their skin. The article has been published in the distinguished journal Nature: Scientific Reports. MedPharm continues to have a broad interest in a wide range of scientific studies related to the skin and other membrane barriers and translating this research into more effective drug delivery methods.

The study measured the levels of 177 chemicals which make up the residual skin surface components in humans. These biomarkers can arise from sweat, natural moisturisers and the sebum exuded from sebaceous glands. Of these, 13 components were found to have statistically different levels in the diabetic cohort verses the non-diabetics. This opens up the opportunity for these biomarkers to be used to detect the disease simply by sampling the residual skin surface components.

Prof. Brown commented, “Diabetes is a rapidly increasing healthcare problem worldwide. This is an exciting area of research and opens the way for a range of new biomarker-based assays that could enable earlier detection and treatment. In the next step we plan to compare results between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes patients.”

He added, “MedPharm’s main focus remains to support topical and transdermal development programmes for pharmaceutical companies with its long experience of formulation development and unique cutting edge performance testing models. The more we understand as the barrier properties of skin in different disease states the better we can help clients de-risk their development programmes whilst providing optimised and bespoke formulations. Whilst this new skin research work is not directly related to drug penetration it does inform us about the variables we have to consider when a topical drug’s delivery is being assessed.”

MedPharm conducts its own performance testing using ex-vivo human skin and specific disease activity models at its rapidly expanding North Carolina laboratories. MedPharm scientists are validating models to enable clients to demonstrate bioequivalence of generics without the need for clinical trials, demonstrating the permeation and activity of formulations containing new chemical entities and providing positive activity data to support marketing claims on over the counter medicines.

Notes to editors
MedPharm is the world’s leading contract provider of topical and transdermal product design and formulation development services. MedPharm are experts at reducing risk and accelerating development times for generic and proprietary pharmaceutical customers through their unique cost-effective industry-leading performance testing models. Well established as the global leaders in dermatology, nail, mucosal membrane, and transdermal product development, MedPharm can also offer innovative solutions for ophthalmic and airway preparations recognised for their scientific rigour by regulators and investors. MedPharm has fully established R&D centres in the USA and UK and has its global HQ in Guildford, UK.


  • Nature: Scientific Reports | 7: 8999 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-09014-6