Across the globe, there are approximately 400 million people currently struggling with diabetes. Statistics compiled by the International Diabetes Foundation estimate that by the year 2035, that number will jump to 592 million. That’s a lot of people living with this complicated metabolic disorder.
Internet powerhouse, Google Inc, is stepping in with the hope of making it easier for diabetics to manage their condition. In the latest news, Google has just announced a partnership with Sanofi SA, a French pharmaceutical company which makes diabetic supplies and medications, to merge their technological know-how with existing treatments.
In a statement, Sanofi announced that Google’s, “expertise in analytics, miniaturized electronics and low-power chip design” would come into play to hopefully improve its available methods of controlling diabetes.
Google’s side of this project will be tackled head-on by the life sciences team of Alphabet, a new company created this past August, and run by Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The team for this project consists of approximately 150 engineers and scientists. The team, along with working with Sanofi, will also be advised by researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center, an affiliate of Harvard University.
According to Joslin Diabetes Center CEO, John Brooks:
“Google has a real desire and focus to transform health care. The idea here is to really disrupt healthcare and disrupt diabetes. I think they want to be right in the middle of it.”
Dr. Jane Chiang, the senior vice president of medical affairs at the American Diabetes Association, is highly optimistic about the new partnership. On Google and Sanofi’s announcement, Chiang stated:
“We’re thrilled they are entering this space. My dream is we would be able to eradicate this disease. If Google could help in any way with that, that would be phenomenal.”
This is not the first news we’ve heard of Google entering the fight against diabetes. Google’s life sciences team has already been working with Novartis AG, a Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer, to engineer a contact lens with a tiny sensor that aims to measure blood sugar levels from tears.
The contact lens is also planned to have an early warning system consisting of LED lights that will turn on when glucose levels are in a dangerous range. The lens may also be able to help the eye to refocus.
Google is also working with DexCom Inc, a company which manufactures CGM (continuous glucose-monitoring) devices to develop such a device the size of a band-aid, which can be applied to the skin and used to conveniently and continuously keep track of blood sugar levels. This is some high-tech stuff, indeed, and could spell a brighter future for individuals struggling with diabetes.
When it comes to diabetes, prevention is, of course, essential, and healthy diet and exercise are paramount in both prevention and management. However, for those who are living with diabetes, the work being done by Google and its partners in these innovative projects may indeed make life quite a bit easier, and hopefully, some steps towards better understanding and even eradicating this disease may be taken.
—The Alternative Daily