Apple Has 'Secret' Team of Biomedical Engineers Developing Sensors for Non-Invasively Monitoring Blood Glucose

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    At a nondescript office in Palo Alto, Apple is rumored to have a small team of biomedical engineers researching better methods for monitoring blood sugar, reports CNBC.

    Apple's work on glucose monitoring is said to have started with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who wanted to develop a sensor that could continuously and non-invasively monitor blood sugar levels to improve quality of life. Apple is far enough along in its research that feasibility trials are being conducted at clinical sites in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it has hired consultants to sort out regulatory issues.
    Rumors of Apple's work on advanced healthcare initiatives like diabetes management aren't new. Early Apple Watch information suggested the wearable device would be able to measure things like blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

    Many health-related sensors that Apple wanted to include in the original Apple Watch were reportedly dropped because the technology was not consistently accurate, but rumors at the time said Apple would pursue its work on more advanced health sensors. Apple has also made several health-related acquisitions and around the time the Apple Watch was in development, hired dozens of biomedical experts.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has since said that Apple does not want to put the Apple Watch through the FDA approval process, something that would need to happen for more advanced healthcare features, so it is not clear if this is a feature Apple foresees being added to the wrist-worn device. From Tim Cook in 2015:
    If Apple is planning on more advanced sensors for the Apple Watch, such features are not likely to be included in the third-generation device rumored to be coming in the fall of 2017. Information on that device thus far points towards a smaller update focusing on improving battery life and perhaps adding features like cellular connectivity.

    While Apple works on its in-house own blood sugar monitoring solution, it has launched CareKit, a platform that allows app developers to create integrated software that allows patients and doctors to better manage medical conditions. Diabetes monitor One Drop was one of the first companies to support CareKit.

    Article Link: Apple Has 'Secret' Team of Biomedical Engineers Developing Sensors for Non-Invasively Monitoring Blood Glucose
  2. The Barron, Apr 12, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2017

    The Barron macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2009
    Maybe Apple should buy this solid company: BioTelemetry, Inc. (BEAT)
  3. JeffyTheQuik macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2014
    Charleston, SC and Everett, WA
    Sign me up!

    (Type 1 Diabetic for 45 years)
    (And before you go there, I was 3 when I got it. T1D is when your pancreas stops producing insulin)
    (Oh yeah, I have a Class 3 Medical from the FAA too...)
    --- Post Merged, Apr 12, 2017 ---
    or Dexcom... as well as Tandem Diabetic Care...
  4. snebes macrumors 6502a

    Apr 20, 2008
  5. macaco74 macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2008
  6. Rainshadow macrumors member


    Feb 16, 2017
    This would SKYROCKET the market for wearables and the applewatch. With diabetes being so prevalent, and having an apple designed solution to monitoring it, it would be huge. Genius idea, that I'm sure they have been considering for some time.
  7. star_nerdy, Apr 12, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2017

    star_nerdy macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2017
    Are they owned by an actual Dr. Dre?
  8. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Non-invasive monitoring would be a big, big deal to a heck of a lot of people. This would be the Apple Watch's "killer app" for anyone with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
  9. pat500000 macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2015
    Non invasive? You need the actual blood to get accurate blood measurement.
  10. blackcrayon, Apr 12, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2017

    blackcrayon macrumors 68000

    Mar 10, 2003
    I'd be interested in this simply out of nutritional curiosity. If it wasn't enormously expensive, of course.
  11. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    More sensors in the watch like ones that measure glucose are definitely something I want. I'm not afflicted by diabetes but I know how something like that would be life changing to those that are.
  12. thermal macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2009
    Vancouver, Canada
    Not necessarily. You can check blood oxygen levels non-invasively; blood glucose levels are the next step.
  13. rp2011 macrumors 65816


    Oct 12, 2010
    If this story holds up, and the technology works, expect Apple stock to keep shooting up.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 12, 2017 ---
    I think this is why it would be a "breakthrough"
    We'll soon see.
  14. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    You need blood for existing technology that has been around for years or even decades. This must be referring to something new.

    In fact in Europe there is a no-blood tester but it is still somewhat invasive. It is not in the US yet because our FDA takes a lot longer. I've considered importing it.
  15. BPresh macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2015
    Man! If only Apple innovated like Samsung! [/sarcasm]
  16. djlythium, Apr 12, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017

    djlythium macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2014
    As someone who studies diabetes, especially among tech-savvy millennials, I can tell you that this tech exists, but is in the clinical stages. Apple would have to follow the same procedures if they want FDA approval. Thus, I suspect they are working as 'blind' tech developers in conjunction with clinical researchers.

    This would, indeed, be exceptional tech, if it came to market.
  17. FloatingBones macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    I hope that AAPL is also investigating noninvasive measurement of β-Hydroxybutyrate (or BoHB to its friends) -- the ketone body produced by those on a LCHF diet. Noninvasive measurement would let individuals know how they are progressing on the metabolic adaptations to a ketogenic metabolism.

    Display of blood glucose and blood BoHB simultaneously would be awesome.
  18. TxExCxH macrumors regular


    May 16, 2014
    Type 1 diabetic. If this is true and depending on how accurate, this would get me interested in an Apple Watch.
  19. jbernie macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Type 1 Diabetic for 31 years now, many things have been promised to us over the years so much so that I rarely give any of them any interest until you actually see it getting through the FDA approval process. I can also remember non invasive blood sugar testing being worked on back in the early 90s, there was a diabetes forum on CompuServe (dates me a bit :) ) where it was being discussed. Keep in mind if there were easy fixes we would have them by now, the short and then long term success rates of the various "cures" are pretty bad, islet cell or pancreas transplants can work short term but then the body starts to reject them & back to square one.

    The big deal with non invasive testing is that it should reduce the cost of ongoing treatment significantly, even if the device was to cost say $500 out of pocket you could still save money, let alone pain etc, over just a few years even with insurance coverage (USA). If Apple doesn't go to stupid on the proprietary connection stuff then something like this would be adopted quickly, guess that would be an interesting test to see if Apple really only wants to make money or truly make a difference in the world.

    One problem with most systems is that you still need to do some regular tests every day to ensure the system is still accurate enough, IIRC the accuracy of the meters (home use) is still +/-10% or so, just improved accuracy would pretty awesome.

    As an alternate, for type 1, the hybrid closed loop system Medtronic is about to release is of interest, but to be honest having the pump + another sensor attached isn't exactly exciting but I admit I am interested.
    I certainly hope we see improvements, back in 86 a blood sugar test took 2 minutes and you had to wipe the blood off of the strip after 1 minute, the current meters are pretty nice in comparison.
  20. bmac89 macrumors 65816


    Aug 3, 2014
    I have no need for the Apple Watch (and don't have diabetes either) but I can see how something like this can turn what is essentially a luxury gadget into a potential purchase which may be justifiable as a useful tool.

    Non-invasive medical monitoring is definitely the future. If not primarily for medical treatment it can act as a source of data for non-invasive medical research literally from within ones home. That is assuming that the device and app is scientifically accurate and of course any potential flaws in the collection of the data is considered.

    If nothing else it can potentially help the 'patient' to better understand their own body.

    I don't know much about this but if the device is not FDA approved then how can the app running on the device be FDA approved?
  21. rp2011 macrumors 65816


    Oct 12, 2010
    If true, you and a whole lot of other people.
  22. RudySnow, Apr 12, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2017

    RudySnow macrumors 6502


    Aug 27, 2016
    Tyler, TX
    Coming up on 28 years for me in June, diagnosed when I was 12. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE this technology. How it can be approved sans FDA is a mystery to me, but let's go!
  23. Glideslope macrumors 603


    Dec 7, 2007
    A quiet place in NY.
    Basic Med on May 1st. ;)
  24. DZakDad macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2014
    Would love this. This isn't the first time we've heard about glucose monitoring and the Apple Watch. There were rumours of this type of sensor when it was in the pre-release hype window.

    Over 35 years as a T1 diabetic - that's a lot of finger prick testing. My big concern would be accuracy.

    An issue I see with this is the fact that this would take the Apple Watch into a different category - it would now be a medical device. This would require government approval in any market Apple wanted to sell the watch with this feature. Approvals can take a very long time and when the software was updated, the update would also go through an approval process. When you're working with a device that people will make potentially life altering decisions with that's a completely different market.
  25. hellopupy macrumors regular


    Sep 8, 2016
    Los Angeles
    Not only good for diabetics but really good for healthy people who could check their blood sugar to prevent insulin resistance.

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