By Chris Freimond, Managing Editor
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) expects the number of people living with diabetes to rise from 387 million in 2014 to 592 million by 2035, which will dramatically increase global demand for treatment and control of the disease.
Most people with diabetes control their blood glucose level with insulin. They need to regularly test their blood sugar during the day, and the standard test is finger pricking to draw blood, which is then applied to a test strip that provides a result.
But finger pricking, even with spring-loaded lancing devices, can be painful and stressful. Now researchers at the University of Calgary are developing what they believe could be a significant new method of blood sugar testing using a device which they say mimics a mosquito and is virtually undetectable as it draws blood.
Called the eMosquito – for electronic mosquito – the device could be in clinical trials within a year, according to Martin Mintchev, a director of M Pharmaceutical Inc. (MQ-CSE), a Vancouver-based company that is collaborating with the inventors of the new device to take it through clinical trials and regulatory approvals.
“This could be an important breakthrough for people with diabetes,” says Dr. Mintchev. “The eMosquito is a device that will automatically monitor their blood sugar levels throughout the day with less discomfort and stress than traditional methods. In addition, blood sugar data can be sent wirelessly to users’ smartphones and/or physicians, eliminating the need to carry bulky testing hardware.”
He points out that the IDF estimates that diabetes caused at least US$612-billion in health expenditure in 2014 – 11 per cent of total spending on adults globally.
According to industry analysts including Frost & Sullivan, BMI Espicom and IEK Industrial Technology Research Institute, the value of the global market for blood glucose measuring devices is expected to grow from an estimated US$845-billion in 2014 to US$897-billion in 2016.
“The care and treatment of people with diabetes is a potentially huge market,” adds Dr. Mintchev. “We believe this will mean growing demand for new and more convenient ways of testing blood sugar levels, which is why we are supporting the development of the eMosquito.”
M Pharmaceutical Inc. is pursuing interests in pharmaceuticals and biomedical devices. It signed an arm’s-length binding letter of intent with M Diagnostics Inc., a Calgary company that holds the rights to the eMosquito, which was developed by the shareholders of M Diagnostics Inc., Dr. Martin Mintchev, Dr. Orly Yadid-Pecht and Mr. Joseph Wang at the University of Calgary.
The letter of intent provides for the acquisition of all the rights to the eMosquito technology.
For more information on the eMosquito and M Pharmaceutical Inc., please visit the company
website at www.m-pharma.ca.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that lets glucose from the food we eat pass from the blood stream into the cells in the body to produce energy. All carbohydrate foods are broken down into glucose in the blood. Insulin helps glucose get into the cells.
Not being able to produce insulin or use it effectively leads to raised glucose levels in the blood, known as hyperglycaemia. Over time, high glucose levels are associated with damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues.
There are three main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile-onset diabetes. It is usually caused by an auto-immune reaction where the body’s defence system attacks the cells that produce insulin. People with this form of diabetes need injections of insulin every day in order to control the levels of glucose in their blood. If people with type 1 diabetes do not have access to insulin, they will die.
Type 2 diabetes used to be called non-insulin dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes and accounts for at least 90 per cent of all cases of diabetes. It is characterised by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency, either or both of which may be present at the time diabetes is diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes can often initially manage their condition through exercise and diet. However, over time, most people will require oral drugs and/or insulin.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are serious. There is no such thing as mild diabetes.
Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a form of diabetes consisting of high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It develops in one in 25 pregnancies worldwide and is associated with complications to both mother and baby. GDM usually disappears after pregnancy, but women with GDM and their children are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Maintaining blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol at or close to normal can help delay or prevent diabetes complications. Therefore, people with diabetes need regular monitoring.