Self-testing kits for diabetes are common and patients themselves can test the level of glucose in their blood on their own. However, it means there is a needle that they have to poke themselves with frequently and for some this can be very painful. Now there is an alternative to this with needle-free devices to test diabetes.
Diabetes affects millions around the world. Most of them suffering from this ailment require medication and many among them are needed to constantly monitor their glucose levels. Diabetics generally get their blood tested at a pathologist’s clinic while there are several of them who have to check it more frequently and maintain a record and, therefore, use self-testing kits. These kits allow them to monitor their diabetes levels at home in a manner convenient to them; however it does include poking a needle into their skin.
Every time a diabetic checks his or her glucose level, a needle gets poked and this is not just painful for many but also if not done properly can lead to infections. Despite exponential advances in medical science over the last century, needles are still needed for several purposes. Though there have been several experiments with needleless injections we are still far from getting a practical solution. But, at least for testing blood sugar levels, we might soon get a device that would eradicate the need of a needle.
A technological breakthrough might be around the corner with several medical equipment manufacturers and technology companies trying to find a solution to completely eliminate needles from diabetes testing. Echo Therapeutics, a company based at Philadelphia has developed a device that is termed as the Symphony tCGM biosensor. The device is a transdermal biosensor that is capable of examining blood for sugar levels through the skin without the requirement of extracting blood.
The biosensor uses a patch with a biosensor that captures the reading of the patients and sends a signal to a remote monitor with an alarm that goes off if the glucose in the blood is beyond the normal level. The patch biosensor is attached to an electrical device that is shaped like a toothbrush and when it comes in contact with the skin, it removes a little skin from the surface in order to bring the biosensor within the range of the blood to collect required information. The entire process is painless and patients are saved from getting poked by a needle.
Similar devices are being tested by several other medical research companies and universities and these will become a boom to millions of diabetics around the world. Type 2 diabetics have to get their blood sugar levels tested frequently, however, it is the type 1 that will be benefitted the most. Type 1 diabetics have to get their blood sugar levels tested multiple times in a single day! A device like this will be highly useful for such patients who suffer from pain every day.
We have received several inquiries from our readers about the commercial availability of the device. Accordingly we contacted the manufacturer about further details on product availability in the market. We have been informed by Echo Therapeutics, Inc. that the product is still under development stage as they try to make it more affordable and commercially viable.
Christine Olimpio – Director, Echo Therapeutics, told DigitFreak:
While the need and market opportunity for noninvasive CGM for people with diabetes is well documented, there are additional implications for personal health objectives, including weight loss, sports training and wellbeing. We believe glucose data from our sensor can seamlessly fit within other wearable health applications and provide an invaluable, and currently untapped, input to health and wellness algorithms.
Also, they have stated their plans to launch it as a part of their wearable device that can be useful to monitor various other physical attributes such as health training and weight loss along with checking the blood sugar levels. They have also said that the design of the wearable and diabetes monitoring device is the same except that there would be few differences in the display of the data.
(Image source: echotx.com)