GlySens Incorporated is a privately held corporation located in San Diego, California that's been around since 1998. Their focus is on an implantable long term continuous glucose monitoring sensor that will help people with diabetes monitor their glucose levels accurately without the usual fingersticks. The system will include 2 parts: the implanted sensor and an external monitor with a display.

The sensor is implanted in the lower abdomen, like where most infusion sets and monitors are worn, or just below the collarbone. These areas have less chance to impact the body and it's functions. It works similar to current monitors in that the sensor takes in the data and sends it to a small display device. This device shows the current blood glucose level, a chart of the previous blood glucose values, and provides adjustable automatic warnings of high and low blood glucose readings. This information is stored so you and your physician can analyze the results.

The Technology

The Glysens sensor is actually 2 sensors in 1. From their site:

"The sensing principle is based on the utilization of two sensors that are both incorporated in the implantable device: (1) a glucose sensor in which a selective chemical reaction, involving glucose and oxygen, is monitored by an electrochemical oxygen detector; and (2) an oxygen reference sensor to detect tissue oxygen. The sensor's electronic circuitry automatically determines the difference between the signals from these two sensors and utilizes the difference to determine glucose levels."

Using this 2 sensor approach is suppose to help cut down on false readings, like we saw with systems like the Glucowatch and current continuous monitoring systems. False readings can cause users to stop "believing" in their monitor and go back to the old finger-sticking method. While finger sticks provide reliable readings, the Glysens technology takes the extra work out of checking your glucose level. Since the sensor is implanted and transmits on its own, all the user has to do is pull the display out of their pocket to get the reading they need.

What's Next?

Glysens recently published results from a study conducted on pigs in the Science Translational Medicine journal. This is important because the subcutaneous tissue of a pig is the most similar to a humans. The study showed that the sensor, a 1.5 inch wide ½ inch thick disc, worked for 222 days in one pig and 520 days in another. Compare this to the current batch of continuous monitors that require it's external sensors be replaced approximately every 7 days, and the advantage is obvious. Less interaction with the sensor makes the device that much more appealing users.