Don’t cry for me

Don’t cry for me

Why is it that Diabetic Investor knew that once Google announced that they were trying to develop contact lenses that measured glucose that we’d start seeing all sorts of imitators?  Keep in mind this technology while whiz band and way cool is not new and so far has not been successful either. Yes millions of dollars and countless man-hours have spent on this way cool yet very unproven technology.  But as with most way cool whiz bang ideas that are unproven this hasn’t stopped others from traveling down this wacky path.

The latest effort comes from researchers at Arizona State University who … wait for it .. are working on measuring glucose from patient’s tears. A group of researchers who’ve received a $65,000 grant from the much respected Mayo Clinic. Now Diabetic Investor does not want to cast any aspersions on this effort as who knows they just might succeed where everyone else has failed. To Diabetic Investor this is like saying the United States Ryder Cup team had a chance to win the Cup yesterday despite playing more skilled opponents who just happened to have a nearly insurmountable lead in the contest.  Was it possible sure, was it likely ……..

What’s almost laughable here is this continued fascination with the need to develop a non-invasive glucose monitor. That patient’s would test their glucose levels more frequently if they didn’t have to endure the pain of pricking their fingers. This quest, which we have dubbed the quest to find the Holy Grail of diabetes management, has been going on for years and as we have noted on numerous occasions has yielded nothing, nada, zilch.

Now never let it be said that the fact that no one has been successful in this quest should researchers stop the pursuit, especially when everyone seems to believe that IF (and that’s a huge IF) someone could actually do it they would be rich beyond their wildest dreams.  These researchers believe that patients would be spending them thank you notes and bottles of champagne (Diabetic Investor would highly recommend a great champagne called Medallion) because these people would no longer endure painful finger sticks.

Just to provide some perspective here it would be wise if these researchers checked out a now defunct company called Fovioptics., a company which also tried and failed to develop a non-invasive glucose monitor; a monitor which also tried to measure glucose from a patient’s tears. Now Fovioptics was no ordinary company and not just because of the talented people involved with the company. No what made Fovioptics special is they not only admitted defeat and returned money to their investors. Instead of following the standard path where they asked for millions more because they were oh so close, the company did the right thing. They admitted that this technology while way cool could not be successfully commercialized and that investors would be better off putting their money into projects that actually had a chance at success.

We suppose it’s possible that the good people at ASU will succeed or that Google with their huge war chest might, but we wouldn’t hold our breath waiting either. For even if the effort was successful getting such a system into the hands, or should we say eyes, of patients is only half the battle. The system still must be paid for and actually used by patients in the real world. Not an easy task especially in today’s world where cost trumps performance.

Honestly folks we admire the effort but wish as much time, effort and money was being spent on educating patients about what these numbers mean. How they could actually use these numbers to better manage their diabetes. Why even for non-insulin using patients glucose data can be an invaluable tool.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again the so-called pain factor is not the reason the majority of patients fail to regularly monitor their glucose. Numerous studies have concluded that the so-called pain of a finger stick is well down on the list of reasons as to why patients don’t test. That not knowing what these numbers mean or how they apply to a person’s individual diabetes management are cited more frequently. That an equal number of studies have concluded that patients who are educated actually test their glucose more frequently pain or not.

Diabetic Investor wishes the researchers at ASU well as we do all the geeks at Google, as who knows they just might succeed. However we won’t be shedding any tears when their efforts end up like all the others, close but no cigars.