Needle-Free Diabetes? European MedTech Inventions which Painlessly Measure Blood Glucose!

google_lens_diabetes_medtech_monitoring

Will the daily routine of finger pricking to monitor blood glucose levels finally come to an end for the millions worldwide living with diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disease that affects over 422 million people worldwide. It is the major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers it an epidemic and predicts it will become the 7th biggest cause of death worldwide by 2030.

To monitor blood glucose levels, millions of diabetics have to test their blood sugar close to 10 times a day by pricking their finger with a lancet to obtain a small blood sample. But some companies in Europe are trying to find a pain-free alternative that removes the need for needles – here are three startups revolutionizing blood sugar testing.

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GlucoSense (London, UK)

GlucoSense is a spin-out of the University of Leeds funded by NetScientific that is developing a non-invasive device based on photonics technology. Its basic component is a nano-engineered silica glass with ions that fluoresce in the infrared region when stimulated by a low power laser.

When the glass is in contact with the user’s skin, the reflected fluorescence signal varies based on the concentration of glucose in their blood and one can acquire the glucose concentration measurement in less than 30 seconds.

diabetes_monitoring_glucosense

The nodule on the device is where the patient places a forefinger in order to take a reading

NovioSense (Nijmegen, the Netherlands)

NovioSense is a Dutch startup working on an implantable glucose sensor that uses tear fluid to measure glucose levels. The device consists of a 15 mm-long metal coil coated with a hydrophilic gel. Its flexible form allows the device to bend to conform to the surface of the lower eye lid, where the sensor is placed.

The coil moves to the correct place in the eye and the gel coating swells to increase contact between the metal coil and the eye fluid. Using state of the art low-power and highly sensitive ASIC technology jointly developed with Fraunhofer IMS, the device can measure minute-to-minute changes in glucose levels in the tears that are representative of blood glucose levels.

noviosense_diabetes_medtech

GlucoWise (London, UK)

GlucoWise is a product from MediWise, a medtech knowledge-driven company that empowers individuals to take control of their health. It was founded in 2010 by a team of entrepreneurs in London and aims to tackle relevant health problems.

The GlucoWise sensor is positioned to gently squeeze the skin between the thumb and forefinger or the earlobe to measure blood glucose levels. The device then displays the reading in real-time on the screen without having to pierce the skin. Read our interview with the co-founder to learn more about GlucoWise.

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While we wait for these technologies to arrive to the market, Integrity Applications’ GlucoTrack, from Israel, which can measure glucose using electromagnetic waves, is already available in Europe.

Of course, there’s also the much talked about Google Lens, which is being developed in conjunction with Novartis. In May 2017, Google announced the lens will connect directly with smartphones. Unfortunately, a date is still not available.

Other less invasive alternatives in the works include FreeStyle Libre, from Abbott Diabetes Care in the UK, an inch-wide patch that can be worn for up to 2 weeks. There’s also Eversense, a subcutaneous implant that measures glucose in interstitial fluids and lasts up to 90 days. Roche recently struck a deal with the developer, Senseonics, to distribute the sensor.

Along with better, innovative treatments for diabetes – among them a fully automated, wireless artificial pancreas – an alternative to finger pricking for blood glucose monitoring will definitely appear as a joint effort between different fields including biotech, material sciences and electronics. There is even talk of a breathalyzer to monitor glucose levels – like how alcohol levels in drivers are measured by roadside authorities.

The only question is, who will get there first? Will a small startup be able to beat big pharma companies in the pursuit of a commercially available noninvasive glucose meter?


Editor’s note (19/07/2017): This article has been updated with the most recent developments in blood sugar testers without blood pricking

Image credit: Google Lens / Novartis; Glucosense; Noviosense; GlucoWise / Mediwise


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  • Carlos Azuaje

    Awesome stuff!

  • Pb

    Hi,
    Great devices!!
    Can anyone guide how and from where these device can be bought?? I am from India.
    Thanks..

  • Stanley Robert Clark

    Please send details

  • Hi Stanley,

    Thank you for your comment. I can only recommend you contact the companies themselves for further information.

  • Kaleem

    Where can i buy this from ??

  • annamalai

    want to know where it is avail in india

    • Hi Annamalai, thank you for your comment.

      But we do not manufacture or have any affiliation with the companies listed. Please contact the companies directly to find out more.

  • GlucoSense – London (UK)
    GlucoSense is available Where?&what is the cost in india.
    interested to buy.

    • Please contact the companies directly, we do not have access to this information (see above comments).

  • Connie Bruckner

    I live in USA and am interested in buying the glucosense device.
    Thanks

  • DNMITTAL

    How to get this device for measuring
    Bloodless Sugar level from USA . Is the device approved by Competenr Authorities. How much is the cost in USA

    • You should try to get in touch with the company

  • Soucaille

    I am living in Taiwan. Where can I buy this device?
    Thanks

  • Bernice M. Lock

    I hate needles and would definitely be interested in being part of a clinical trial.

  • IanH

    It is now 9 months after this article was published. Are you aware of any further progress in bringing these devices to market?

    It all seems to have gone very quiet …

  • Astala

    What is the current status? When will it be available to order?
    GlucoWise™ is currently in development and will be available to purchase once clinical trials are completed. We expect to start taking pre-orders in late 2018.

  • rajesh soni

    i want to buy this glucowise meter please advice from where i can buy this

  • This 2017 as the year of 2016 is gone. I am tired of needles and tired of these advertisements. Where is the product?

    • Hi Sylvia, GlucoWise and GlucoSense are both expected to reach the market in 2018, while NovioSense plans for launching are set for 2019. Hope it helps!

  • wanda

    Love to try something differtent

  • Brian

    Will any of these devices ever be allowed to become available?
    After 45 years I’m fed up with promises,promises, it doesn’t seem to get much better.

  • How can I get one of these because I’m not feet the stick

  • Toni Lynn Price

    I have a 5 year old son who has Gluten disorder and type 1 Diabetes. He hates the double prick of taking the sugar before the needle. Would love more information on this please. We would love to help you test this by using it with the blood one to determine accuracy. We would love this most at night, what a great way to not have to wake a child for his testing time.

  • Jay

    I’m excited for this too! I’m sure millions of other diabetics are clamoring for a ‘needle-less’ way of testing.

  • Benjamin Adkins

    Hi! I found this product in the other site, i think their are the same: http://www.deviceinformed.com/medical-devices-global-directory/primary-care/general-practice/blood-glucose-meters/glucowise What do you think?