Boehringer Mannheim is currently developing a blood glucose monitoring system that it hopes will measure BGs continuously and as painlessly as possible. Boehringer would like to see its minimally-invasive product, the Komo System, on the market by the year 2000.
“At one time we put great efforts into a non-invasive device, but today we aren’t too enthusiastic about it because the same device problems have been occurring in experimentation for 15 years,” explains Ulrich Grob from Boehringer Mannheim.
A needle is only needed for application of a catheter somewhat similar to the ones found on insulin pumps. The needle is then retracted after implantation, and only the extremely thin, flexible catheter remains in the skin.
Glucose permeates a catheter membrane and is then transported to the sensor unit located outside of the body. The water-resistant sensor unit looks like a pager and straps around the user’s waist. The sensor’s graphic display shows glycemic measures for the previous eight hours and stores data for up to three weeks. The device also sends its results via radio waves to a wristwatch which displays the BGs for the user.
High and low target BGs are chosen and programmed by the user. The system measures glucose levels every minute, and when BGs go above or below these target levels, the device sounds a warning alarm. Boehringer Mannheim plans to develop stronger warning signals when BGs go into more dangerous levels.
Finger pricking is only necessary to calibration the Komo system. According to Boehringer, there will be one calibration per day at most. The company hopes to drop this frequency to once per catheter change – a catheter is implanted for three to five days.
The estimated cost of the unit is expected to be in the price range of insulin pumps.
Boehringer Mannheim welcomes any suggestions for the Komo System and can be contacted at:
Boehringer Mannheim GmbH
D-68298 Mannheim, Germany