Diabetics who rely on insulin to maintain their blood glucose levels have to draw blood several times a day, usually through a finger prick. There are continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) that can take measurements, but these still rely on a needle that penetrates below the skin. A French company has come up with a new approach that only sticks through the outer layer of the skin that could revolutionize glucose monitoring.
PKVitality has created a new type of sensor that relies on an array of microscopic probes that penetrate into the skin, but not so deeply that it triggers nerves. Instead of sampling blood, the sensor system draws “interstitial fluid” which is the liquid that occupies the space between cells in the body. The K’Track system is housed in a small capsule that is mounted in the back of a smartwatch style device. At a touch of a button, the device display the current blood glucose level. The capsule can be used to take an unlimited number of measurements over a 30 day period, at which point you remove it from the watch and replace it with a new one. You don’t have to deal with lancets or test strips that are used with traditional blood sample glucose monitors. The replaceable capsules are expected to cost about $100.
The system is currently undergoing testing, with the aim of receiving FDA clearance by the end of 2017, leading to commercial distribution starting in 2018. The company also has a version for athletes that will measure lactate, as a biometric indicator of muscle performance. This new sensor technology could transform the measurement of a wide range of biochemical markers.