Apple reportedly developing non-invasive sensor for diabetes treatment

midian182

Posts: 6,091   +50
Staff member

It’s estimated that almost half a billion people worldwide have diabetes, with the figure set to reach 642 million by 2040. For those who endure regular blood sugar monitoring that involves pricking a finger, or other invasive methods, a sensor that's able to perform the same task just by touching the skin would be more than welcome. Step forward, Apple.

CNBC reports that the iPhone maker has hired a small team of biomedical engineers to join the 30 people already involved with the project. The group is working out of an office in Palo Alto, a few miles away from the Cupertino headquarters. The engineers report to Apple's senior vice president of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji.

The company has reportedly been working on the initiative for over five years – it was former CEO Steve Jobs who first showed an interest in the concept. Now, Apple has reached the point where it has started feasibility trials at clinical locations in the Bay Area and has even hired consultants to deal with the regulatory demands.

While precise details of how the system works are unknown, one source said it uses optical sensors that shine a light through the skin to measure glucose levels. What’s also unclear is whether it would be a stand-alone product or perhaps become an attachment for the Apple Watch. If the latter, then the wearable’s popularity would no doubt soar among those with the disease.

Apple isn’t the only company working on products aimed at Diabetes sufferers. Google is developing contact lenses that detect glucose levels by analyzing a wearer’s tears. It’s also working on a bandage-sized, cloud-connected sensor, and filed a patent in 2015 for a device that can draw blood without using needles.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,500   +6,002
As one Type-II diabetic, this would be very welcome news although having it made for the Apple watch would be most unfortunate and unnecessarily costly, especially for those on a fixed or modest budget. This could be one invention that Apple could limit their profit on and benefit a large part of the population, further enhancing their standing in the world while still making a tidy little profit.

Of course, it probably won't replace that long term HA1C test, but just avoiding that little prick and risk of infection would certainly be welcome! And I won't even bother mentioning my Apple stock and how important those dividends are to us old folks!
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,999   +2,471
If apple could implement that tech into the apple watch, and let it run without being tethered to an iphone to read BG measurements, I would buy one in a heartbeat.

Making BG level reading painless and convenient would do a lot to help manage the stress that comes with diabetes in general.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,416   +3,487
I will believe this when I see it. Non-invasive has been a goal for decades.

I would also advocate for it being independent of any other crApple tech, but I wonder if it will attain the accuracy of the best of the "invasive" meters on the market. As I understand it, even continuous monitors still require calibrating against an "invasive" meter. In addition, accuracy and repeatability are two factors I look for as not having both in a meter decreases quality of life. I am not advertising nor do I work for Bionime , but their GM100 meter is among the most accurate on the market. Since I switched to that meter, the frequency of my lows has greatly decreased.

As far as comfort goes, if anyone is not using BD's 33-gauge lancets, I would highly suggest trying them. https://www.bd.com/us/diabetes/page.aspx?cat=7002&id=7431
 
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J

Jibberish18

I will believe this when I see it. Non-invasive has been a goal for decades.

I would also advocate for it being independent of any other crApple tech, but I wonder if it will attain the accuracy of the best of the "invasive" meters on the market. As I understand it, even continuous monitors still require calibrating against an "invasive" meter. In addition, accuracy and repeatability are two factors I look for as not having both in a meter decreases quality of life. I am not advertising nor do I work for Bionime , but their GM100 meter is among the most accurate on the market. Since I switched to that meter, the frequency of my lows has greatly decreased.

As far as comfort goes, if anyone is not using BD's 33-gauge lancets, I would highly suggest trying them. https://www.bd.com/us/diabetes/page.aspx?cat=7002&id=7431
Yeah. As cautious as I've been about anything related to diabetes for the last decade, I will say if there are two companies I believe could make something useful for the diabetic crowd it would be Apple and Tesla. Why Tesla? Is there anything the freaking guy can't do once he's set his hard headed skull to it?
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,416   +3,487
Yeah. As cautious as I've been about anything related to diabetes for the last decade, I will say if there are two companies I believe could make something useful for the diabetic crowd it would be Apple and Tesla. Why Tesla? Is there anything the freaking guy can't do once he's set his hard headed skull to it?
I would not put Musk on a pedestal. After all, he is the guy that thinks we should all be hard-wired into our computers.

The task is very difficult. Big pharma has been working on this for years. They have significant expertise in the matter; even so, they still have yet to bring a product to the market.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,416   +3,487
Works only with iTunes...
Figures. I would not be surprised to find out there is an ulterior motive such as selling diabetic data to companies looking to profit from it.

That said, several years ago, I bought a meter that was supposed to be the most accurate in the world - aside from the HemoCue which is arguably the most accurate meter there is - if you can afford the meter and the supplies.

The thing about the meter that I bought is that it needed to be operated at roughly 20 degrees C. If it varied from that by more than a few degrees, it would error. There were so many errors that I had with that meter that it was virtually useless. My experience is colored by that meter, but these tasks are, quite literally, rocket science. It will be no small task to look through the skin and pull out the absorption spectra from glucose molecules and do it accurately and repeatably with every individual that is diabetic. There is so much variation from individual to individual that that becomes the problem.

Even A1C has a different meaning from person to person such that every individual would have to have a special test to translate A1C into average glucose for the specific individual for the three-month period that A1C covers.

Don't get me wrong, I would like to see this; however, I sometimes think that companies like this make announcements like this to give the general public an enhanced image of the company - and that they never intend to produce the product. I would not be surprised if we hear nothing more about this, except, perhaps, that their clinical trials failed.

Here is an interesting and short article on Wikipedia about non-invasive glucose monitoring. No easy task. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noninvasive_glucose_monitor
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,416   +3,487
As one Type-II diabetic, this would be very welcome news although having it made for the Apple watch would be most unfortunate and unnecessarily costly, especially for those on a fixed or modest budget. This could be one invention that Apple could limit their profit on and benefit a large part of the population, further enhancing their standing in the world while still making a tidy little profit.

Of course, it probably won't replace that long term HA1C test, but just avoiding that little prick and risk of infection would certainly be welcome! And I won't even bother mentioning my Apple stock and how important those dividends are to us old folks!
From my own experience, risk of infection from testing is minimal as long as you use a new lancet each time. I stopped using alcohol swabs more than 10-years ago, and I have not had one single infection. I also have type II, but I am insulin dependent. I was using a jet injector and they never required using an alcohol swab. I am now using a pen device with 32g 4mm needles and have been for about two years. I do not swab the injection site, and also have had no problems. Of course, though, I use a new lancet and a new needle every time. Assuming, of course, you are talking about the risk of infection from testing and/or injections.