Looking back at two decades of CGM advances

FreeStyle Libre 2 from Abbott

Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) have transformed how many people with diabetes manage blood sugar, but attempts to monitor blood glucose have a long history.

Attempts to manage glucose kicked off in earnest when researchers began measuring glucose in urine in the mid-1800s. Scientists’ ability to do so steadily improved over the years, but urine glucose testing wasn’t commercialized until 1908, establishing a foundation for diabetes care. 

Elkhart, Ind.-based Ames Company refined the process in 1945 with the introduction of Clinitest reagent tablets, which are still commercially available, albeit from Bayer (ETR: BAYN). The company would introduce the first blood glucose test strip in 1965. The Dextrostix-branded strips were intended for use in doctors’ offices. 

In the 1970s, Ames developed a device known as the Ames Reflectance Meter to measure reflected light from a Dextrostix strip. It was the first blood glucose mete…

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How continuous glucose monitors have transformed the diabetes landscape

G6 applicator from Dexcom

Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) are among the most potent diabetes management tools to emerge in recent decades.

FDA approved the first professional CGM in 1999, and the technology has evolved swiftly since then. Current models beam data via Bluetooth to smartphones (plus the Apple Watch) and the cloud, enabling patients to explore their blood glucose readings in an app or via downloadable PDFs.

“Decades ago, we were still checking urine sugars,” said Dr. Egils Bogdanovics, a Connecticut-based endocrinologist. “In the early 1980s, fingerstick blood glucose monitors came out. That was a big deal — a revolution in diabetes,” Bogdanovics recalled.

Get the full story from our sister publication, Drug Delivery Business.

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