Diabetes light Dx begins U.S. trial

A Cleveland hospital is pursuing a 300-patient clinical trial involving a novel diagnostic tool designed to spot diabetic markers in children and teens without taking a drop of blood. Instead, the non-invasive device uses light.

As The Plain Dealer reports, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital will be conducting the trial using VeraLight's Scout-DS, a noninvasive tool that relies on different light wavelengths to spot diabetes chemical markers on the skin such as glucose byproducts. That's a solid biomarker, the story notes, because diabetes involves a breakdown of the body's usual task of turning glucose into energy, so the byproducts of that stunted process remain in the body, and can be picked up by the New Mexico company's diagnostic too--all from a four-minute scan of skin in the underside of the left forearm, not far from the elbow. If all goes well, Scout-DS could hit the U.S. market by 2014.

Out of the 300 patients to be included in the study, half will be children who already have diabetes. The rest are expected to be overweight kids that don't yet have a diabetes diagnosis. Clinicians plan to test patients ages 4 to 22 in the trial.

The device, which has CE mark approval, represents a potentially large advance compared to the current standard of care for diabetes diagnostics, which involves lots of blood tests and skin biopsies for the telltale glucose byproducts. The article explains that the VeraLight product would be much more specific, and its relative diagnostic speed would allow for earlier diagnostis and treatment. Those factors are crucial because diabetes can damage a child's body so quickly as sugar builds up, and earlier intervention can reduce long-term damage from the disease.

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