Last week I had the pleasure of meeting up with some fellow bloggers and a team from C8 Medisensors, the company bringing to the market the much-anticipated non-invasive continuous glucose monitor somewhat catchily named, 'the HG1-c'. I mentioned them briefly after happening upon their stand at the ATTD earlier this year and last week provided an opportunity to get some waffley blogger-types together in a room to discuss the Hg1-c, the company, the history and the future. It's all bright, by the way.
In a nutshell this investigational device (not yet CE approved) consists of a small box, around the size of today's smart phones or an insulin pump, which is held in place around the midriff by a neoprene belt. Here it measures the amount of glucose in the fluid beneath the skin using Raman Spectroscopy technology. For those of you who - like myself - don't speak 'medical journal', Raman Spectroscopy is effectively shining a light through the skin. This light reacts only with glucose molecules and can therefore identify how much glucose is present. It then feeds this back to an app on a smart phone (Apple version in the pipleine) for you to keep a near real-time eye on your glucose. Ingenious, I think you'll agree.
So far the benefits of the system include being vastly cheaper than the current traditional CGMs available such as the Navigator, the Enlite and everyone's favourite, Dexcom. The price of the unit is approximately £2500 which although still a very large outlay, is a drop in the ocean in comparison with the traditional CGMs. In fact over the anticipated 4 year lifespan of the device, that is a saving of approximately £10,000. Imagine how much diabetic chocolate you could buy with that!
Other benefits include being non-invasive and therefore painless, having no expensive parts to replace, it is relatively discreet (although perhaps not underneath any negligee when preparing to seduce the husband/wife!) and the accuracy is comparable with the current systems. CGM accuracy rates currently range anywhere from 75-89% and the information we were presented with clearly showed that for trend information allowing you to make better self-care choices, this system performs as well as any of those above.
There are a few drawbacks to mention. For all those parents out there thinking how fantastic this will be for your little ones, we were categorically told that this device will only receive CE marking for adults. So alas if you are interested in this, using it on children would be considered 'off-label'.
It is also - in my opinion - rather on the 'chunky' side at this point thanks to being worn on a girdle style belt and the need for a battery pack alongside the monitor. But for me, this is a trade up I would make for the sake of more affordable, reliable and non-invasive CGM. I have tiny marks all over my abdomen from the many cannulas I have worn over the years, so the idea of a monitoring device that doesn't even pierce the skin, is wonderful.
It also isn't waterproof so no skinny dipping while wearing your C8 girdle, because you can't return it if you wreck it, OK? And due to the need for no movement between the skin and the laser for it to work without interruption, it isn't recommended during exercise at the moment.
That said, if you are looking for a more affordable, reliable CGM system that is up and running in 15 minutes, is close to the 'gold standard' of glucose monitoring and is run through your phone meaning no extra devices to carry around, then I strongly suggest you make your own enquiries about this system.
The plan at the moment is to roll out in the EU imminently, followed by Switzerland, Norway and eventually, Iceland. So to the Norway readers I discovered a while back - you know who you are - keep your eyes peeled.
The message really is keep your eyes on this company. If they can get CE approval then they may well have version one of a contender for the likes of the market leaders who have become such a household name in the diabetes community. We are bombarded with information about how beneficial CGM can be. Well, maybe C8 are about to bring us the first step closer to CGM being a routine part of our care in the UK.
Watch this space.
I've attached some photos of some very engrossed-looking bloggers for your entertainment...