This week Google announced its latest innovation: a smart contact lens developed to help people with diabetes monitor their glucose levels. Patients are more likely to comply with monitoring that does not require frequent pin (lancet) pricks for blood samples, and maintain better health as a result.
Google says that the lens, currently in prototype form, will use a wireless chip and a tiny glucose sensor planted between two layers of material designed for soft contact lenses to measure glucose levels in tears. The lens will use miniature lights to warn the diabetic person if their glucose readings reach a dangerous level. Google reports that they have “completed clinical research studies that explore tear/blood glucose correlation and test lens functionality and comfort.”
Dr. David Klonoff, medical director at the Diabetes Research Institute at Mills-Peninsula Health Services, worked with Google on a clinical study to evaluate that ability to detect glucose in tears. He was Principal Investigator and co-author of the protocol for the first study in the Google contact lens project.
“We measured tear glucose levels with a unique sampling system and a special measuring method that were developed by Google for very small volumes and very low glucose concentrations. We compared tear glucose levels with blood glucose levels to see how closely these two measurements tracked,” Dr. Klonoff explains.
Test results are still being analyzed by Dr. Klonoff’s team but he reports that he is optimistic about the outcomes and eventual benefit to patients.
“It was exciting working with scientists from Google and to collaborate with such a dynamic creative company. They do not let any barriers stand in their way. I have been following the work of the Google scientists for many years and they are extremely creative,” Dr. Klonoff says.
Read the official Google blog, Introducing Our Smart Contact Lens Project by Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, project co-founders.
He founded the Dorothy L. and James E. Frank Diabetes Research Institute of Mills-Peninsula Health Services to facilitate development of new devices and drugs for people with diabetes. He has chaired the scientific advisory board for developing the first FDA-approved insulin patch pump and participated in development of the first FDA-approved dedicated diabetes telemedicine system, the first FDA-approved inhaled insulin, and the first three FDA-approved incretin drugs for diabetes. He recently published his findings in the New England Journal of Medicine as the lead investigator for the first-ever randomized controlled multicenter trial of the world’s first artificial pancreas product for outpatient use.
The Mills-Peninsula Health Services Diabetes Research Institute in San Mateo, California, was the lead site and David C. Klonoff, M.D., was study chair of a national, multicenter study called ASPIRE (Automation to Simulate Pancreatic Insulin REsponse), an in-home clinical trial of the integrated MiniMed insulin pump with automatic insulin suspension, a feature called Threshold Suspend which is unique to MiniMed insulin pump systems. The trial was conducted at multiple investigational centers across the United States to determine the safety and efficacy of Threshold Suspend.
This clinical trial is the first, large in-home study to show the results of the integrated system when Threshold Suspend is incorporated. The trial compared two MiniMed sensor-augmented insulin pumps (integrated insulin pump with continuous glucose monitoring): one with the Threshold Suspend feature and one without.
In April 2013, nearly 200 scientists and clinicians from all over the world attended a conference called “Workshop on Innovation toward an Artificial Pancreas.” Among the physician researchers was David C. Klonoff, M.D., FACP, Fellow AIMBE, medical director of Mills-Peninsula’s Diabetes Research Institute.
New information on the current status of the artificial pancreas and the latest enabling technologies to advance this field was presented at the meeting. The purpose of the two-day conference was to have a multi-disciplinary discussion of advances and prospective areas of research that would accelerate the development and delivery of a wearable, automated artificial pancreas for individuals with diabetes.
Dr. Klonoff, was on the planning committee of National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) / U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and chaired a session on “New Developments in Modeling, Algorithms and Technology. He also spoke at the meeting on the topic of mHealth (mobile health), delivering health care via mobile devices such as smartphones and wearable body sensors.
Great advances have occurred in diabetes research over the past decade, often in incremental steps, some which were taken at Mills-Peninsula’s Dorothy L. and James E. Frank Diabetes Research Institute in San Mateo, California.
“Diabetes is one of the most serious health problems of our time,” says David Klonoff, M.D., medical director of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at Mills-Peninsula Health Services. “We conduct research to tackle this problem and work toward breakthroughs in care.”
Throughout 2012, the DRI conducted research studies, participated in hospital initiatives for diabetes care and performed service for Mills-Peninsula, the U.S. government, and the national and international scientific communities. In January, Dr. Klonoff compiled a summary of the DRI’s 12 grants for research conducted in 2012.
David C. Klonoff, M.D., FACP, medical director of the Diabetes Research Institute at Mills-Peninsula Health Services, has been elected a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). He will be inducted at the Fellow Induction and Awards Ceremony at AIMBE’s 22nd annual event in February, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Being named a Fellow is considered one of the highest honors in the biomedical engineering discipline. Fellows represent the top two percent of the medical and biological engineering community.
AIMBE Fellows are leaders in bioengineering who are working to realize the institute’s vision to provide medical and biological engineering innovation for the benefit of humanity. The AIMBE College of Fellows consists of 1,000 individuals who are the outstanding bioengineers in academia, industry and government. These leaders in the field have distinguished themselves through their contributions in research, industrial practice and/or education.
“The mission of AIMBE is to promote public policies to foster advancement in medical and biological engineering,” Dr. Klonoff said. “At the Mills-Peninsula Diabetes Research Institute, we are applying advances in medical and bioengineering to develop new products to help people with diabetes. This award will help call attention to our hospital’s efforts to develop novel engineered devices, drug delivery systems and new medications that are safe and effective in the fight against diabetes, which is the world’s greatest epidemic.”
About Dr. David Klonoff
Dr. David Klonoff founded the Dorothy L. and James E. Frank Diabetes Research Institute of Mills-Peninsula Health Services to facilitate development of new devices and drugs for people with diabetes. He is also a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Klonoff’s productivity includes 160 publications, two patents, and 86 clinical trials as principle investigator. Dr. Klonoff chaired the scientific advisory board for developing the first FDA-approved insulin patch pump and participated in development of the first FDA-approved dedicated diabetes telemedicine system, the first FDA-approved inhaled insulin, and the first three FDA-approved incretin drugs for diabetes. He is currently the lead investigator for the first-ever randomized controlled multicenter trial of the world’s first artificial pancreas product for outpatient use. Dr. Klonoff has chaired or served on 34 government grant review panels related to diabetes technology, including panels for National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NASA, National Science Foundation, U.S. Army, JDRF, and the University of Michigan.