News of the recent partnership between European drugmaker Novartis (NYSE: NVS) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) to develop a contact lens designed to monitor blood sugar levels in diabetics has drawn attention to several other new diabetes treatment developments.
Information Week recently highlighted several of them:
Bionic Pancreas System
Boston University engineers created a bionic pancreas system that continuously monitors glucose levels and delivers insulin and glucagon based on an algorithm.
The system, being tested at Massachusetts General Hospital, aspires to achieve a simple mission: “We look forward to a cure for type 1 diabetes.”
Smartphone Glucose Monitor
New York-based Gmate created the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone-, iPod- and iPad-compatible Gmate Smart.
Patients load an app from iTunes and connect the hardware and test strip. Then, after applying a blood sample, the results display on the Apple device screen. Results can be stored and data can be manipulated by the software.
Apps, Apps, Apps
In addition to devices like Gmate, Information Week said there were more than a thousand iOS and Android diabetes apps available. The apps cover everything from tracking insulin to exercise to diet.
One cited app called Glooko allows users to download blood sugar readings to their smartphones, integrate food and exercise data, and share the information with healthcare providers.
Other app developers known for diabetes apps include Dexcom and Medtronic (NYSE: MDT), which developed myMedtronic Connect.
Since managing diabetes involves repeated tasks over a lifetime, technology designed to automate can be helpful by normalizing (as much as possible) the diabetic lifestyle.
Common Sensing developed a pen cap that tracks insulin and connects to a smartphone or glucometer via Bluetooth. The simple act of automating the logging process can significantly improve the life of diabetes patients.
Telehealth Diabetes Style
With an aim to improve the population's health and reduces healthcare costs, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, North Sunflower Medical Center, General Electric, Intel and C-Spire wireless formed the Diabetes Telehealth Network.
The Diabetes Telehealth Network was set up to utilize teleconferencing to advise and educate patients as well as provide two-way communication for ongoing care and diabetes management.
The American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Forecast suggested technological R&D related to diabetes treatment would continue to focus in three main areas: smarter, friendlier hardware, wireless connections and Information sharing.
Technology, especially related to the ubiquitous smartphone and similar connected devices, will continue to play a major role in coming years.
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.
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