Even though it is still looking for a name for its life science unit, Google has already got down to business: improving the lifestyle of people struggling with diabetes.
In a recent collaboration with French drug-manufacturer Sanofi, the search giant has revealed to be undergoing works on finding new ways to manage the disease that 382 million people worldwide suffer from. This partnership follows two others in recent months, with Novartis AG and DexCom Inc.
Andy Conrad, director of Google’s life science department, said that technology could really make a difference in the lives of people with diabetes, because it can help them monitor sugar blood and insulin levels – something their bodies cannot do on their own.
Even more so, technology might be the solution that helps reduce the many discomforts that come with the disease, starting from the daily finger pricks to the sometimes necessary limb amputations.
In a recent interview, Conrad explained how diabetics are more prone to developing cancer, suffering from heart attacks, and having their foot amputated due to vascular issues. Most problems regarding diabetes could be avoided if blood sugar levels would be prevented from severe fluctuations.
Last year, Google started working on a co-authored project with Novartis on special contact lenses. The idea is to have them equipped with micro-sensors that can read blood sugar levels from tears, a product that will begin testing next year.
Working with DexCom is still recent news, a collaboration that will produce a sensor the size of a Band-Aid connected to the cloud. Google is now also pairing with Sanofi – maker of world’s bestselling insulin – in a new attempt of finding better ways of delivering the hormone to patients who need it.
Conrad revealed that his department is working hard on building a new system that allows physicians and diabetes patients connect using technology. The Sanofi deal will result in various smart insulin delivery devices, such as Bluetooth-connected insulin pens that register every administration and that physicians can monitor.
Lost productivity and healthcare resources spent on the 29 million diabetes patients in the US alone cost roughly $245 billion every year, according to the American Diabetes Association. Dark predictions estimate the number of people in need of insulin treatments will spike to 600 million by 2035, so Google’s developments are greatly needed.
By finding new way to analyze glucose levels in real time, the Google-Sanofi collaboration hopes to enable doctors to respond more quickly to drastic fluctuations in blood sugar and thus the complications usually associated with lack of diabetes management, including cancer and heart attacks.
Image Source: Telegraph.co.uk