Diabetes is a group of metabolic disorders, chronic condition which is associated with abnormally high level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The day to daycare required for diabetes makes it seem like the innovation in the industry is very slow or almost negligible. But when the diabetes care equipment of today is compared with that of a decade or two ago, the innovation in this industry becomes distinctly clear. This article provides you with the latest developments which might materialize by the next decade, which could make them the most exciting innovations in the diabetes care market, and must be taken note of.
Lenses might just bring about a new revolution in the market shifting consumers from using finger-sticks for blood tests to just wearing a lens. The contact lens manufacturer Alcon, which is a division of the Novartis pharmaceutical company and the tech giant Google, have teamed up for producing a contact lens which can measure the glucose in tears. The working of the lens involves a small sensor and an antenna which will be embedded in between two soft contacts. The lens will have a hole through which tears can reach the sensor, which will consequently determine the glucose value. The data will be transmitted wirelessly to a mobile device for monitoring. Further, human trials have already been conducted for the lens termed as “smart lens”, but there is still a long way to go for the product to be launched commercially.
The fasting blood glucose tests are a good choice for the testing of diabetes, but an important aspect skipped by this method is whether diabetes is of type I or type II. A chip being developed by researchers at Stanford University is seeking to give a more elaborate diagnosis. The chip works by measuring the autoantibodies in the blood, which permits it to differentiate between the two types of diabetes. This is important as there have been many reported cases of the misdiagnosis of type 1 as type 2. The company IGI Stat started by researchers at Stanford is planning to commercially launch the device in less than 2 years, once it has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Flash Glucose Monitoring Systems
The currently used continuous glucose monitoring systems have exponentially aided the requirement of users to monitor their glucose data in real-time, but there have been cases where users have complained about the regular need for calibration and confirmation through the use of finger-sticks. Abbott plans to alter this requirement through the launch of FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System which will not be required to be calibrated with a blood glucose meter. It involves the use of a sensor beneath the skin which fixes on the back of the arm by an adhesive pad. The sensor then monitors the level of glucose in the fluid beneath the skin every minute. The product has already been launched in select European countries, and Abbott is working with the FDA for clearing the medical requirements for devices.
Sanofi and Mannkind Corp. are planning to offer an alternative for rapid-acting insulin owing to the fact that it has become a chore for many patients to take multiple injections on a daily basis. The product is named “Afrezza” and it is an insulin powder which is inhaled at the beginning of a meal through a device similar to an asthma inhaler. The medication involved is then rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream which makes it faster than the insulin which is being injected. Further, it also clears from the body faster which reduces the risk of hypoglycemia for the patient. Afrezza is now available by prescription for type I and type II diabetes.
There are a few other products worth mentioning such as
- Pill being developed by researchers at MIT which once swallowed uses a hidden needle to deliver a drug directly to the stomach lining.
- Smart Insulin being developed by Merck, which will work by acting only when blood glucose crosses a threshold and then turns off when the glucose levels are normal.
- ITCA 650, being developed by Intarcia which is a match-stick sized device implanted under the skin and delivers a continuous dose of the drug exenatide. The device needs to be installed about once or twice a year.
- 640G is a combination pump and CGM developed by Medtronic, going a step beyond its older 530G. The 640G can suspend drug delivery on the basis of low glucose readings and resume action once glucose levels are high. It has already been launched in Australia and the United States.
Therefore, the diabetes care market is vibrant with a continual influx of technological innovations which make it an ever-developing market for the foreseeable future.
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