By: Brenda Neugent
All Dr. Christopher Jacobs’ friend wanted a lancing device that didn’t cause pain. And after hearing the longtime type 1 diabetic lament the discomfort he felt from the many finger pricks required to test his blood glucose levels, Jacobs was intrigued by the challenge.
Putting his background and education in biomedical engineering into action, Jacobs spent 20 hours a week for almost a decade in the lab working on the prototype for the new Genteel, a pain-free lancing instrument that’s much different than anything currently on the market.
The instrument is quick—so quick that the nerves that signal pain have no time to respond – and results in a blood draw within 2 to 8 seconds.
While it’s slightly larger than traditional lancing devices – a bit wider and longer but still comfortable to grip for both adults and kids – and there’s a learning curve when it comes to mastering the instrument, it can be used with a patient’s existing meter and test strips, as well as most single standard lancets with square-shaft bases.
“We don’t disrupt your life, we just take the pain out of it,” said Jacobs in a recent telephone interview from his Texas office.
Newly diagnosed diabetics who are nervous about the finger pricks, and mothers of young diabetics especially, have expressed interest in the new product, which is already available in 10 countries, with orders to be shipped to three more “It’s worth it to them to prevent their child from hurting,” he said.
Different than the traditional devices, Genteel uses Contact Tips to precisely control the depth of the lancet, rather than the click of a dial where lancing depth could fluctuate considerably, along with a Nozzle and vacuum that creates a suction effect to draw blood from the lancing site.
Jacobs understands that some long-time users of traditional lancing devices will say they’re used to the pain and may not be all that interested in trying the new instrument, but believes that many will relish in pain-free testing, especially when testing six to 10 times a day.
“In reality, you can do a good, accurate blood test” with traditional devices, Jacobs said. “We just allow you to do it painlessly, and that’s the only difference.”
Genteel is designed to reliably draw blood from virtually anywhere on the body, including the chest, arms, legs, stomach, and palms – as well as the fingers for those who are resistant to change.
Still, for those who rely on the sensitivity of their fingers – those who are blind, computer operators and musicians, for example – the ability to test somewhere other than the fingertips is a big benefit.
Jacobs says users report one inch above the knee as one of the best places to test, and product developers – based on reports from users – have found that after lancing in the morning, the same site can be used to draw blood throughout the day, using only the vacuum effect of the Contact Tip and Nozzle without the lancet itself.
“The benefit is being able to lance once in the morning and draw blood all day without re-lancing,” said Jacobs, who sounded pretty elated about this added bonus.
While it usually takes about 15 minutes to learn how to maximize Genteel, the pain-free factor has made the extra time worth it.
“Users say, ‘It’s just so nice to be able to not feel that twinge when you push the button,’” he said. And because it can be used on sites aside from the fingers, it prevents the loss of feeling in fingers after decades of traditional testing. “If people are willing to put in the time, the end results can be pretty awesome,” said Anita Matthews of Matthews Media Marketing.
In order to encourage insurance companies to cover the instrument, currently priced below $130, with an anticipated lifespan of 10 years or more, and a warrantee of five, the company is launching a study to determine whether more regular testing – the expected byproduct of pain-free blood draws – could bring down A1c levels, results that could inspire insurance companies to consider coverage of the instrument. On the upside, Genteel is designed to work with all the users’ insurance-covered regular testing supplies, so the purchase of Genteel is a one-time only investment.
Genteel is available in black, blue, pink, silver and white, and includes the lancing instrument and a case designed to hold all testing supplies, two Nozzles that create suction to draw blood from the lancing site, six different colored Contact Tips that adjust the depth of the lancet, and stickers to add a personalized touch.
Jacobs’ friend, the one who inspired Genteel, is a bit nostalgic, so he uses one of the original prototypes, and raves to everyone who will listen about his freedom from finger pain and numbness.
For more information about the lancing instrument, visit www.mygenteel.com or call 844-GENTEEL.