Affecting over 415 million people worldwide, diabetes is nothing short of a global health crisis. It’s also a growing problem, with numbers predicted to increase to 642 million by 2040. Although diabetes cannot be cured, it can be managed through a balance of insulin, diet and exercise. The gold standard for managing diabetes is the self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), perhaps better known as the finger prick. Needless to say, this process is unpleasant and inconvenient. As a result, many diabetics fail to do it – at the expense of their own well-being. RSP Systems, a Danish medical technology company, aims to set a new standard of care in diabetes management. To do this, they have developed GlucoBeam, the world’s first non-invasive blood glucose monitoring system. Now, thanks to the support of EU funding, this breakthrough device is one step closer to hitting the market. “RSP spent the last 15 years developing a clinically proven device for measuring blood glucose in an entirely pain-free manner,” says Stefan Ovesen Banke, special advisor and founder of RSP Systems. “Once on the market, GlucoBeam will revolutionise diabetes self-management.”
Glucose levels in 60 seconds or less
GlucoBeam’s brilliance is in its ease of use. “All a diabetic has to do is place the base of their thumb on the device’s pad,” explains Banke. “It’s as simple as having your fingerprints taken!” With the thumb in place, the device emits a laser into the skin. This laser collects and analyses the Raman spectrum from glucose molecules found in interstitial fluids. Then, in less than a minute, one’s glucose concentration is displayed on the screen. “By enabling diabetic patients to accurately test their glucose levels in less than 60 seconds and as often as desired, we’re empowering them to better manage their treatment and minimise the risk of acute complications,” adds Banke.
From prototype to lunchbox-sized device
Although RSP Systems had developed a viable, clinically proven, non-invasive device for self-monitoring glucose levels, it was nearly the size of a tabletop – not very convenient for home use. “To commercialise GlucoBeam, we had to develop a smaller, more convenient device and ensure connectivity to enable the easy transfer of data,” remarks Banke. This is where the EU funding came into play. Researchers put significant effort into designing an optical system having the smallest possible footprint without compromising the specifications already proven to work well. The miniaturised device proved itself in two exploratory out-patient clinical investigations, offering an accuracy level on par with the glucose monitors currently on the market. “Thanks to the EU’s support, we were able to transform our prototype into a portable, lunchbox-sized system,” explains Banke. “The project also helped us conduct the necessary market research to successfully compete in the multibillion euro diabetes glucose monitoring market.” Banke says he is confident that the device will be on the market by 2022 and that additional patents and funding will be secured in the near future.
GlucoBeam, glucose monitoring, medical technology, glucose, diabetes