Whilst 4.7 million people - in the UK alone - suffer from diabetes, there are a further 900,000 people with diabetes that haven't been diagnosed and 17 million who are very likely to go on to develop full diabetes within 10 years.
Alzheimer's Disease Screening
Similar to the diabetes diagnosis device, Occuity are also currently in the design phase of a device that can screen for Alzheimer's disease. In a similar manner in which the diabetes screening device is able to screen for fluorescing of AGE's in the eye, the Alzheimer's device will be screening instead for marker plaques within the lens allowing for much earlier diagnosis of the disease and subsequent treatment options.
The Diabetes Problem
The scale of diabetes is such that it is now being described as a pandemic and in the UK alone there are 4.7 million people suffering from the condition. But that headline ignores one aspect of the problem that isn't getting the attention it deserves. Of that 4.7 million there are 900,000 people with diabetes that haven't been diagnosed and a further third of all adults - almost 17 million people - who have pre-diabetes and are very likely to go on to develop full diabetes within 10 years.
There is therefore a desperate need for a convenient way to screen for diabetes and pre-diabetes. Unfortunately, this currently requires an inconvenient blood test so can only be performed in a clinical setting. Those who don't know or suspect they have diabetes or pre-diabetes don't present themselves for these tests.
The Occuity team, together with their partners at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and the University of Bristol, have extensive experience in diabetes care instrumentation, diabetes clinical trials and advanced data processing techniques. They have developed an optical confocal scanning technology that can detect the concentration of Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs) within the eye. This measurement can assess the risk of whether a person has, or is likely to develop diabetes. Blue light illuminates the eye and the returning scattered blue light and the green fluorescent light from the AGEs is detected. The test is completely non-contacting so can be performed in a non-clinical setting in a GPs surgery, a pharmacy, an optician's practice or even in a domiciliary setting such as a care home.
This tri-partite development therefore is focused on using the existing patented technology of Occuity to produce a compact, handheld AGE reader for evaluation in clinical trials to demonstrate that the technology is both clinically effective and cost effective in screening for diabetes and pre-diabetes in a cost effective manner across the clinical pathway.
Of course, the units will not be simple measuring devices alone. Of equal importance is the development of data processing systems, harnessed with machine learning algorithms to handle and interpret the significant level of data that will be generated whilst screening and it is planned that with measurements taken at regular intervals, over a long period of time, the collected data can be used to assess the rate of progress of the disease and therefore the effectiveness of any treatment.
Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes Screening
Occuity is in the process of developing a non-contact handheld device that is capable of screening for the AGE's that build up in the eye over time. Coupled with machine learning techniques, the readings from this device will aim to give a diagnosis of whether the subject is non-diabetic, pre-diabetic or diabetic. Importantly, the device will be able to be used in a non-clinical environment making it ideal for use in pharmacies or even domiciliary environments such as care homes.