Millions of people who suffer from diabetes are used to that painful prick in the finger to test their blood glucose levels. A new device under development may end this routine and offer a pain-free and non-invasive reading of glucose levels.
The common test for checking the amount of glucose in the blood of diabetics involves pricking the finger multiple times per day in order to obtain the blood readings. PositiveID Corporation, a developer of medical technologies for diabetes management and molecular diagnostic systems, recently partnered with the Diabetes Research Institute (“DRI”) at the University of Miami and “Schneider” Children’s Medical Center in Israel for the purpose of developing an alternative named Easy Check.
Easy Check is a non-invasive device that can indicate the patient’s glucose levels by measuring the amount of acetone in the breath. This ongoing development follows clinical researches that have shown that the presence of increased levels of acetone in the breath of a patient indicates a high level of glucose in the blood.
“The goal of Easy Check is to eliminate a person’s need to pinch their finger to get a blood glucose reading,” says Allison Tomek, senior vice president, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications at Positive ID Corporation. “Instead, they could simply breathe into the Easy Check device and get a reading.”
This patent-pending device requires the patient to exhale into a single-use capsule. The device then mixes the exhaled breath of the patient with a chemical compound that triggers a chemical reaction, which in turn allows the measurement of the acetone levels in the patient’s breath. This measurement is then correlated to the level of glucose in the body.
According to the developers, “the portable device is expected to provide a reading in five to seven seconds, with the same accuracy tolerances as present day glucometers, in a safe and pain-free testing alternative.”
“The device is still under development, but we purchased the intellectual property for Easy Check in Febuary 2009,” Tomek tells NoCamels. “We do not yet know when the device will be available or how much it will cost, but we expect to launch a clinical study in the coming weeks.”
To date, Easy Check has only gone through preliminary breath tests, conducted in a research facility outside Tel Aviv, Israel. The company is now working on further testing, calibration and development of the device’s software and algorithms. The second generation of the prototype is currently under development, leading to a possible FDA submission this year.