Painless glucose monitoring…getting closer!

Recently our diabetes education staff at St. Anthony’s Medical Center had the pleasure of hearing about the newest glucose monitoring technology straight from the inventor himself—Dr. Zhi Xu, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UMSL, presented his non-invasive glucose monitor. Remember, we wrote about Dr. Xu before here!

Dr. Xu’s meter is the first non-invasive monitor that measures blood glucose optically (using a light source). The technology in the meter makes it possible to measure blood glucose painlessly by analyzing data from the blood using “the finger pulse method,” a measurement of the blood between heartbeats—all within 1 second. Of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds; the methodology behind the measurement includes a complex formula that makes it possible to measure the amount of glucose in the blood while eliminating interference (anything besides the glucose; like your skin, fingernail, and other components of the blood).

Dr. Xu and his staff have created a few prototypes thus far and are working toward the final model, which they will submit to the FDA for trial and ultimately clearance (hopefully!) to be on the market. Each model they create gets smaller and Dr. Xu envisions the final version to be the size of a cell phone–and cordless, of course.

This type of meter will be the first of its kind. It’s very accurate and will improve the lives of many people, especially those who check blood glucose frequently and/or aim for superior control. The pain factor of course makes this invention very important, but it will also save huge amounts of waste from testing supplies and will save patients money in the long run. Imagine this: if a person tests their blood glucose 4-6 times per day, that’s a savings of 1,460 to 2,010 test strips per year! At one dollar a strip, that could be $2,000. Not to mention, a savings from our nation’s landfills.

According to the World Diabetes Foundation, as of 2010 there were an astonishing 285 million people living with diabetes. This equates to 6.4% of the world’s population. By the year 2030, the prevalence is expected to grow to 438 million (7.8% of the adult population). A painless glucose meter will only improve the health and quality of life of people living with diabetes by allowing them to increase frequency of testing for improved glycemic control.

This presentation was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed meeting Dr. Xu and his staff. The future holds amazing things thanks to their work! How would your life change if you didn’t have to stick your finger to check your blood sugar? Let us know by making a comment below.

Photo courtesy of UMSL.


8 Responses to Painless glucose monitoring…getting closer!

  1. Jari Pihlajamaki says:

    I am type1 diabetic since year 1977. Your invasive glucometer can be the best possible solution for me. If I can see at least my glucose around level all the time or example even every 10-15 minutes I can manage my glucose level changing ( by eating and taking more or less insuline) very easy. And with today`s equipment nobody cannot take bloodtest often enough. I am ready to buy or even to be as a testing user for your first testunits coming out before FDA approval .
    I am aware to here the news of this excellent product.

  2. Elizabeth Patton, MS, RD, LD, CDE says:

    Yes, the non-invasive meter technology will be an especially wonderful development for those who have to test frequently! We attended Dr. Xu’s presentation in December 2011 and he estimated that the meter will be available in 2-3 years. It is currently undergoing FDA trials for approval. Other non-invasive meters are in the works too–although I’m not sure of the exact timeline of when they will be available, I would watch for them in the next couple of years too. We will stay on top of it and post on the blog as soon as we know of their availability!

  3. Tomas says:

    This would make my 4 year old daughter’s life much better if we didn’t have to do finger pricks all the time. Her fingers are tiny and it’s hard getting enough blood out. If this device was available for $800 (saw that price somewhere on another blog) I’d buy it right now!
    Any estimate on when this might be available?

  4. Chuck Karpinski says:

    What ever happened with this? Is it ever going to be available.
    My insurance company decided that test strips are durable goods
    (you know, like a wheel chair, you can use one strip for years. Not.)

  5. boyl101 says:

    This has already been accomplished by the Korean Company DiosPharma.

    • Elizabeth Patton, MS, RD, LD, CDE says:

      Thank you for mentioning this. We learned in the presentation that we attended with Dr. Xu that this is the first meter of its kind to be released in the U.S. There are other non-invasive glucose meters as well, but this is the first of its kind, and promises to be more accurate. That’s why we were excited!

  6. Dawn West says:

    What an amazing step forward in diabetes management! My husband and I would save a TON of money by not having to purchase supplies for our meters. Plus, that many less broken meters in the landfill since the dog won’t be eating them! LOL I will have to follow this story! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Khalil ur Rehman says:

    I wish this non invasive glucometer comes to the market immediately beacuse it shall certainly improve the life of diabetic people. I wonder why such product is not invented before, perhaps pharma companies in the world shall lose capital they are now earning from strips and lancets.


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