Apple secret team reportedly working holy grail for treating diabetes; initially envisioned by Steve Jobs

“Apple has hired a small team of biomedical engineers to work at a nondescript office in Palo Alto, miles from corporate headquarters,” Christina Farr reports for CNBC. “They are part of a super secret initiative, initially envisioned by the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, to develop sensors that can non-invasively and continuously monitor blood sugar levels to better treat diabetes, according to three people familiar with the matter.”

“Such a breakthrough would be a ‘holy grail’ for life sciences. Many life sciences companies have tried and failed, as it’s highly challenging to track glucose levels accurately without piercing the skin,” Farr reports. “The initiative is far enough along that Apple has been conducting feasibility trials at clinical sites across the Bay Area and has hired consultants to help it figure out the regulatory pathways, the people said.”

“The efforts have been going on for at least five years, the people said,” Farr reports. “Jobs envisioned wearable devices, like smartwatches, being used to monitor important vitals, such as oxygen levels, heart rate and blood glucose.”

The glucose team is said to report to Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies,” Farr reports. “speculation has been flying around since the company snapped up about a dozen biomedical experts from companies like Vital Connect, Masimo Corp, Sano, Medtronic, and C8 Medisensors. Some of these people joined the secretive team dedicated to glucose, sources said, while others are on Apple Watch team.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If* achieved, Apple Watch would become the essential device for hundreds of millions of people with diabetes.

According to the International Diabetes Federation:

International Diabetes Federation facts: Number of people with diabetes worldwide

*It’s a big “IF.” Non-invasive continuous glucose monitoring would indeed be the “holy grail for treating diabetes.”

Apple patent details Apple Watch smart bands – January 24, 2017
Emails between Apple and FDA hint at future plans – December 1, 2016
Analyst: Apple smartbands are a part of the Apple Watch’s future – April 8, 2016
Apple patent application hints at Apple Watch ‘Smartbands’ utilizing hidden 6-pin data connector – February 20, 2016
Why Apple’s iWatch won’t measure glucose levels – February 26, 2014

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz,” “Dan K.,” and “Bill” for the heads up.]


      1. … I would buy one. IF …
        I currently wear a FitBit because it helps me monitor my activity. Worn it for longer than I’ve worn a timepiece in my 70+ years … longer IN TOTAL! An Apple watch would cost more but provide a huge bonus in utility. This would HARDLY be a “status symbol” for me – or for the millions of other diabetics in the world.

    1. As soon as Apple figures out a way to measure blood sugar levels with the AppleWatch, even if the design is patented, Samsung will quickly figure a way to duplicate it and avoid paying Apple. Right after that, all Android smartwatches will have the ability and they’ll claim Android smartwatches can do it better for half the cost. That’s the way it always works with Apple. A quick start and then quickly left behind by more aggressive companies. Apple is never able to take advantage of early leads. How is it that companies like Qualcomm and Google have untouchable IP and Apple isn’t able to manage the same?

      When the AppleWatch was first announced, I had thought I would get one for health reasons if it could do all the measurements they envisioned, but it seems the sensor abilities never lived up to the early claims.

    2. Diabetes is nearly exclusively a disease caused by poor behavior including, but not limited to, excessive calorie consumption, excessive consumption of simple sugars and foods with a high glycemic index, and lack of effective excercise. Many people have been “cured” of diabetes without Apple Watch.

      1. Yes but even those who know how to keep themselves from becoming diabetic but are prone to Type II issues if they stray STILL need to monitor their blood sugar which today consists of inconveniently poking themselves with small needles and drawing blood samples – sometimes multiple times of day. This would eliminate that step and make it much easier and less painful to keep track off. And people would get much better at managing it. End result = better health, fewer doctor visits and repercussions of the disease.

        YOU HAVE NO IDEA. “Frank-ly” your comments simply show ignorance of what it is to be pre-diabetic, diabetic, Type 1 or 2. This would be a godsend no matter who does it.

        1. Not true. After a period of time of normal serum glucose measurements with behavioral changes the individual, in consultation with their primary provider, often do not need to sample serum glucose concentrations on a regular basis (ie. before meals and at bedtime).

          Additionally, there is no current safe and economic technology that offers better measurement of serum glucose than the invasive finger stick. Implantable devices are expensive and inaccurate, and require invasive taking of blood samples. I doubt Apple Watch will supplant the accuracy of the finger stick.

          Ignorance is bliss for people like you.

          1. Frank is much too excrementally full of himself. You don’t know Jack about diabetes, but want to be the resident doofus expert on everything on MDN – in other words a Jack-off of all tech trades, master-baiter of none.

            Obviously the goal is an accurate reading of blood sugar with technology Bozo. Ignorance is surely your middle name and your last name Clueless. Your negative attitude would make fictional characters Ebenezer Scrooge & Mr. Potter proud.

    3. I can’t believe it hasn’t been mentioned here yet: DexCom. My wife’s Apple Watch along with the DexCom system have already become indespensible. She has continuous glucose monitoring that is (not perfect, but fairly) accurate enough to know when that finger prick might be necessary before snacking or taking insulin. It has even recently been approved by the FDA as a device with which you can dose without a finger prick. (Yes, you still have to calibrate with a finger prick, but when the monitor is then good for up to 2 weeks, that’s a lot less pricking!)

      Make the Watch (or AirPods – I see that article there begging me for a read next) able to do that without DexCom and even without the pin prick, and you have a huge winner on your hands!

  1. I have long believed the real niche Apple has to aim for with the Apple watch is as a health monitor. That would take it from merely a techno fitness fashionista wearable to a must-have for many people, particularly the elderly. What sold the iPhone was that every one *needs* a phone and Apple did it best. A medically blessed heart monitor and blood glucose meter would absolutely make every other competitor a mere trinket. Apple Pay, notifications, and HomeKit become added luxuries, gravy to the buyer. If that happens, I’ll actually buy Mr Cook’s wrist worn device thingy and wholeheartedly and give him full credit.

    1. Certified medical applications will certainly make the Apple Watch a must-have device for tens or hundreds of millions of people. The cost savings from improved medical tracking and response will far outweigh the cost of the watch, itself, not to mention the improvement in quality of life.

      Avoiding even one emergency room visit will pay for a number of Apple Watches. This is the type of technology that could actually help to reduce overall medical costs though more efficient and timely application of resources.

  2. Notice that its goal is to treat not to cure. This means it will emiliorte the effect, not the cause.

    Clue: How about eating healthy? How about a monitor that detects unhealthy additives such as HFCS and processes such as GMOs? But the corporation would sue.

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