Diabetes is a disease in which the blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. The pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to handle the demands. Whether it be insulin shots or the multiple, daily finger pricks of a glucose meter, the methods of managing the disease have typically been invasive, until now.
Israeli startup Cnoga Medical Ltd has created the first commercially available noninvasive glucose meter, the TensorTip device. It uses a camera and algorithms to read changes in fingers; color, allowing for an accurate and, more importantly, non-invasive method of monitoring glucose levels. Until now, even the most advanced devices still had to be inserted under the skin every one or two weeks. Needle sensors, for example, could track glucose continuously but still required the insertion of a needle.
The device, known as CoG, requires a short training period, during which the device learns to correlate the user’s skin tone with previous glucose level readings. Results of a recent clinical trial have fast-tracked its development, after demonstrating “a surprising level of accuracy”, according to Prof. Anddreas Pfutzner, one of the world’s leading diabetes specialists. Pfutzner was paid by Cnoga to perform the trial, which involved 100 clinical research projects with diabetes-related technologies. As managing director of the Pfutzner Science & Health Institute, Diabetes Center & Practice,
The technology got the green light on Monday from one of the world’s leading diabetes specialists, Prof. Andreas Pfützner, MD, PhD, who came to Israel to present the company with his findings after having tested the technology in two clinical studies in Germany. Pfutzner is the managing director of the Pfutzner Science & Health Institute in Mainz, Germany. He has performed more than 350 clinical studies as principal investigator, including more than 100 clinical research projects with diabetes-related technologies.
According to Pfutzer, finding a way to monitor glucose without pain is “the most pressing unmet medical need in diabetes treatment.” TensorTip, otherwise known as the CoG, provides noninvasive access to blood sugar information. In case of emergency or unclear results, readings can be confirmed via an add-on regular blood sugar meter using test-strips.
After a week of intensive calibration, the CoG reliably tracks blood sugar values on a daily basis. There is no need to replace disposable parts. It can be used for more than two years. Over its entire period of use, it should prove to be less costly than invasive methods.
Diabetes is already one of the most costly diseases, amounting to 12 percent of annual healthcare expenditure worldwide. It is already on track to becoming the greatest epidemic in human history, with 415 million sufferers globally. If diabetes is not properly tracked or controlled, it can lead to heart attacks, strokes, blindness, and reduced blood flow. Reduced blood flow leads to serious limb infections and even amputation. The same goes for low blood glucose. If not properly monitored, low blood glucose can cause confusion, loss of consciousness and seizures.
Cnoga is already looking to provide noninvasive devices to monitor other vital signs, using the same approach. Blood pressure, cardiac output, hemoglobin, pH, red blood cell count and blood gasses can be measured by investigating the relationship between tissue color pigmentation and biological readings. Parameters that once could only be measured through invasive tests conducted in specialists’ labs or at hospitals can now be measured at home, by patients who live far from medical centers.