Continuous glucose monitors have been around for a while now, indeed I’ve been using one to improve my control for the last 5 years. The market has been dominated by three main players, all with very similar devices, at very similar – and for many out of reach – prices. That could be about to change.
I spent a few hours with California based C8 MediSensors last week looking at their new take on CGM, which just like the blood glucose meter, was invented by the father of a diabetic child looking at current treatment and thinking, we can do better than this. Rather than measure glucose levels from the inside, using a sensor beneath the skin, their device fires a beam of light through the skin to measure the level of glucose in the interstitial fluid. That’s right, no needles and no blood. They’re in the process of gaining CE Mark approval which will allow them to sell their optical CGM device in Europe, hopefully this year.
You wear the device, which is slightly bigger than an insulin pump, and its smaller battery pack next to your skin, attached via a material belt that goes around your waist. You view your BG measurements via an app on your smartphone.
Looking at this from the view of someone who already uses CGM, I’m excited. I know the benefits (and frustrations) CGM can bring, but I also know that that funding can be very hard to get and the ongoing cost of consumables make it too expensive for many people to consider. The C8 has the potential to change this. Let’s take a closer look…
The facts about C8 MediSensors Optical Glucose Monitor System:
- Accuracy: company data shows it to be in the same accuracy range as standard invasive CGM – like any CGM, this is about giving you a better view and context to your glucose levels, not an accurate number at a particular moment you can use to bolus from – you still need blood tests for that.
- Techy stuff: the C8 uses Raman Spectography to fire light through your skin and vibrate your molecules. As each molecule has a unique signature, the device can identify the glucose molecules and count them (in all honesty, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but you get the idea, there’s a full explanation here).
- Cost: this is a major winner. The C8 will retail at US$4,000 (around £2,500 at today’s exchange rate). That’s about the same cost as one year’s supply of CGM sensors based on using one a week. The C8 will be guaranteed for around 2 years (;