VeriChip to Unveil Tiny Implantable Glucose Sensor

This just in: VeriChip Corp., leaders in implantable Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip technology, is planning to unveil a blueprint for the world’s first tiny implantable chip capable of measuring glucose levels in the human body — at a fancy-schmancy investors/press event in New York City on December 4th.Verichip_tiny

They’re set to make a big splash, with prominent speakers including Dr. Manny Alvarez, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center, and FoxNews.com health managing editor (my one-time online ‘buddy’ of Ask Dr. Manny).

The shindig will be held at the Grand Hyatt NYC at 4:30 p.m. EST next Tuesday. Specifically, VeriChip will “unveil details including plans to build a prototype self-contained implantable bio-sensing device included in an RFID microchip… Prior to the event, the Company will issue a ‘white paper’ describing the features, benefits and technology underlying the development of its revolutionary self-contained implantable glucose-sensing device.”

Yes, I know. The prototype isn’t even built yet and we’ve got to start bracing ourselves for YET ANOTHER barrage of headlines about some gizmo that will supposedly “do away with a lifetime of needle pricks for diabetics.” How many times have we heard that before?

But this is still kind of a big deal, considering the reputation VeriChip has to live up to. The company has “a 20-plus-year track record in RFID systems for health care, with over 1000 infant protection systems installed and thousands more of the wander prevention systems.”

So maybe they just could pull it off…

Certainly there are naysayers about the core technology. See one outspoken protest site HERE. More neutral observers note that RFID technology “is either the most amazing thing to grace healthcare in decades or a civil liberties nightmare waiting to explode.”

But a glucose-sensing chip will not necessarily be programed to give out details of your geographical location. So no ethical issues there. The much, much bigger deal is a number of research articles over the last ten years that found a connection between the implantable chips and possible cancer. Ugh! But this caveat comes from studies with mice, not people, and an FDA spokesperson recently stated that “at this time there appears to be no credible cause for concern.”

So, the question: IF you had the chance to wear this glucose-sensing chip in your gut, and therefore do away with fingerpricks forever, would you be willing to take the risk? It certainly looks tempting.

[Hat tip: Scott Hanselman]

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27 Responses

  1. courtney
    courtney November 29, 2007 at 6:23 pm | | Reply

    sign me up, cancer or no cancer I think it’d be worth it.

  2. Kathleen Weaver
    Kathleen Weaver November 29, 2007 at 6:28 pm | | Reply

    There are a lot of indicators that the chips we’ve been implanting in dogs are causing cancer.

    But on the other, there have been a lot of people who think radio waves themselves cause cancer, although there have been several long term studies on ham radio operators that did not show any change in cancer rates.

    It will be frustering though, as we’re what 10 years out the way the FDA works?

  3. sri
    sri November 29, 2007 at 7:28 pm | | Reply

    The key question is, what kind of sensor are they using? The data transmission technology is irrelevant if they can’t build accurate glucose sensor technology. Will it rely on ISF, or will it be based on venous blood? Gluco-oxidase is the current enzyme of choice. Based on the brief press release on their web site, they take about an injectable sensor that will last for 4 to 6 months. Dexcom, Abbot or Minimed can add rfid capabilities to their sensors, but the key is in extending sensor life.

  4. Kathy (araby62 on TuDiabetes)
    Kathy (araby62 on TuDiabetes) November 29, 2007 at 7:34 pm | | Reply

    Nope. Sorry, but after 25 years I’m not too quick to jump on anyone’s bandwagon. The blood tests are nothing, just like the shots…it’s knowing I’ll never be as precise as a real pancreas that keeps me awake in the middle of the night.

  5. JasonJayhawk
    JasonJayhawk November 29, 2007 at 7:44 pm | | Reply

    A few years ago, I saw the preliminary patents that were available publically, and I could not locate any information on the actual sensor. The patents I found talk only about the technology of transmitting glucose data through the sensor (an add-on to their animal-based medical probes, but meant for humans), but the documents talked about a glucose sensor as if it is not even a challenge.

    I think they’re going to be startled when they finally start working on their mysterious glucose sensor!

    I’m sure they’re great at transmitting data… but they do not seem to have anyone on their team that is working on the research of getting the glucose value! Odd way to proceed, methinks.

  6. JasonJayhawk
    JasonJayhawk November 29, 2007 at 7:45 pm | | Reply

    Ugh, I hate making spelling errors/typos **publicly**. Do’h.

  7. anonymous
    anonymous November 29, 2007 at 9:54 pm | | Reply

    Find out what their anti-biofouling strategy is and you’ll know if it’s a genuine effort with a shot at success or just something to bump their stock price. Hmmm… what else is located in New York City?

  8. Mark
    Mark November 30, 2007 at 4:56 am | | Reply

    If Dr. Manny recommends it, I’ll wait.

  9. Joanna
    Joanna November 30, 2007 at 5:43 am | | Reply

    Nope. Sorry your not putting something like that in me ! Already had cancer been there done that thanks but no.

  10. Scott
    Scott November 30, 2007 at 5:46 am | | Reply

    After 31 years of these failed promises, I will wait for this to be on the market for about 5 years before even considering it. Also, the issues with cancer are legitimate, and must be thoroughly investigated, and I do not mean just enough to get the FDA nod of approval. The FDA’s track record isn’t as solid as they’d have us believe, and the Avandia issue is only the latest in a long series of issues that were largely silenced and therefore not broadcast on your nightly news.

    This isn’t to say I wouldn’t consider it, but the reality is that these people are seeing dollar signs, but fail to realize that many have treaded where they want to go and failed miserably. Anyone remember the Glucowatch?

  11. Michelle
    Michelle November 30, 2007 at 6:37 am | | Reply

    hmm. Its an interesting concept. What I think would be really great is if 1) it was safe and 2) it could transmit pretty far – IE my son could be sitting in his classroom and the nurse could see his BG from her office 2 floors away. THAT would be sweet. Or even better, I could somehow see his bg from home. But before I stick anything in my son I want it to be safe, so if number 1 doesn’t’ happen then I don’t care if the implantable chip sings and dances and wallpapers my kitchen for me, I won’t use.

  12. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell November 30, 2007 at 7:38 am | | Reply

    Sign me up for one of those.

    Thanks for the writeup Amy.

  13. camille johnson
    camille johnson November 30, 2007 at 8:13 am | | Reply

    Ummmm…. I’ve been using the Dexcom CGM for about a month now and the charm has worn off. I feel like I’m part of a Beta Test, not the final A-1 product that I paid for out-of-pocket!!! I’ll wait a year or two for them to work out the kinks and produce a quality product. I’m not especially worried about cancer, I just want a product I can trust to do the job I paid for — give me accurate readings, no ‘error’ readings, minimal [overpriced] supplies, and no “housekeeping” (required finger pricks everyday, etc.). Come on. Is that too much to ask?

  14. camille johnson
    camille johnson November 30, 2007 at 8:31 am | | Reply

    I know this is off-topic but please direct me to appropriate blog/site/whatever.
    Topic: possible cause of diabetes is virus.

  15. Adam
    Adam November 30, 2007 at 8:43 am | | Reply

    What the Hell is wrong with those people? Why are they still trying to implant chips in people? Haven’t they burnt through all their investors’ capital yet? (Hopefully it won’t be long.)

  16. MoHo
    MoHo November 30, 2007 at 9:21 am | | Reply

    If it worked I’d use it in a hot second. For me CGM has been a positive life changer, I wouldn’t care if the damn thing tracked my every move as long as it performed as advertised, cancer risk be damned.

  17. WC
    WC November 30, 2007 at 10:28 am | | Reply

    You misspelled Faux News.

  18. Bennet
    Bennet November 30, 2007 at 2:29 pm | | Reply

    No prototype.

    Sure we’ll see something in (drum roll please) ten years!

    Right about the time there is a Cure. LOL

  19. john
    john November 30, 2007 at 4:22 pm | | Reply

    I was so excited about the SugarTrac system. Then I was excited about the Freestyle Navigator. I should know better now.

  20. Medopedia
    Medopedia December 2, 2007 at 7:20 am | | Reply

    3D Mammography, RFID Glucose Monitor, and Chronic Sinusitis

    Diabetes Mine on a company called VeriChip announcing an implantable RFID chip for glucose monitoring…

  21. TomWoolworth
    TomWoolworth December 2, 2007 at 11:47 am | | Reply

    I am NOT sure if I would participate. This technology NEEDS to demonstrate a successful track record.

  22. Dave
    Dave December 3, 2007 at 9:43 am | | Reply

    Once something gets FDA approval, it will remain approved even in the face of death. Bad pills will stay on the market. Pills will expand their scope. Doctors will go on prescribing. Expect that doctors will prescribe these sensors without any thought to other outcomes. In our constant striving to cheat death, is it any wonder that we would ignore death? Medicine allows you to choose your mobidity, but your life will not be a day longer. Spend the time making sure that your children know you love them. Spend your time building deeper friendships. The thing that will matter most in the end will be, in those last minutes, who you comfort before you die–how you say goodbye.

  23. Dennis
    Dennis December 3, 2007 at 8:05 pm | | Reply

    I think just about all of us would be willing to Not have all these toys, inlcuding CGM and OmiPod and fancy testing devices and just devote all that $ going into them, to go into creating islet cells from the new artifical Stem cells.

    Go in evey 6 mos and get a tune up of new cells and off you go… No more Need for just about everything else.. But, of course their also goes Big Profits on those toys.

    of course they would still make their billions on the T2′s…

  24. Jess
    Jess December 4, 2007 at 4:57 pm | | Reply

    I’d jump on it, if I could afford it.

  25. Jess
    Jess December 4, 2007 at 4:58 pm | | Reply

    I’d jump on it, if I could afford it.

  26. Cesar
    Cesar December 5, 2007 at 10:51 am | | Reply

    Great stuff Amy, the only thing that holds me back is that whole cancer stuff. Let me ask everybody, who here is tired of having diabetes? Now, who would like to have cancer also?, I know i would not. Thats my opinion, who agrees?

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