NIR Diagnostics (CME Telemetrix) – Near Infrared Technology

UPDATE #1: Recent improved performance of this device can be attributed to a new shell design and a proprietary filling material for their quality control device called the phantom finger. A new algorithm development process is being tested for effectiveness in the transfer of algorithms to other instruments. This update comes from the Chief Scientific Officer, Thomas G. Scecina

NIR Diagnostics specializes in the development of leading edge medical diagnostic instruments. This primary research goal of this Canadian company located in Campbellville, Ontario is the completion of their non-invasive monitor called GlucoNIR™, and as the name suggests uses near infrared light. A beam of light in the Near-IR range is focused on the person's finger for about half a minute. By applying mathematical techniques to the emerging light, the concentration of various blood analytes including glucose are determined. Results are displayed in a LCD window and a history file is maintained which can be downloaded to a computer, for the physician's use.

To measure glucose and other analytes in tissue or other samples using near infrared light, CME says it has developed an algorithm to describe the relationship between the NIR measurements and the concentration of analytes like glucose. They claim to have proprietary technologies to improve performance using partial least squares, principal component regression and multiple linear regression. Their findings await verification by independent researchers.

A couple of other companies are attempting to develop a working infrared device. CME Telemetrix was partially funded by Abbott Laboratories until December, 1997, but lost this support as Abbott redirected its resources to a semi-invasive technology company, SpectRx. CME states that they were dissatisfied with partnering with a company already involved in the extremely-profitable BG testing market (Abbott is partnered with Medisense). President Duncan J. MacIntyre warns that "global medical device companies and manufacturers of painful bloodletting invasive devices had more to lose from the success of our non-invasive technology than they did from our failure."

On May 15, 2000, CME announced an alliance with Motorola, Inc., whereby Motorola purchased a 5% interest in CME in exchange for worldwide (excluding Japan), royalty bearing, and exclusive license to CME's non-invasive medical devices for measuring glucose and other diabetes-related analytes (ie, HbA1c, cholesterol, etc.). To date Motorola has invested over $5 million dollars in CME. Motorola's ia a leader in the miniaturization of electronic products, and with the strength in the cell phone business, this may open the door to immediate, worldwide cellular blood sugar reports, ideal for concerned parents who have a child with diabetes, etc. Will Optiscan team up with Qualcomm, Disetronic with Nokia? Stay tuned.