5 compelling technologies in the works to help control and manage diabetes

9:54 am by | 5 Comments

stop diabetesThe consensus at this year’s Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit was that changing the course of the obesity and diabetes epidemic will require a melting pot effort toward prevention by the food industry, schools, healthcare providers, consumers and the healthcare industry. It’s also going to take a while.

Startups were a bigger part of the summit this year than ever before. Here are a few technologies aimed at preventing, treating or improving quality of life for people with obesity and diabetes that caught my attention at the summit.

Device/cell therapy combo for type 1 diabetes

Transplantation of islet cells, which produce insulin, has been around for a while. However, the scarcity of donor islet cells and the response of the immune system to those donor cells has been a challenge for scalability and commercialization. Sernova Corp. has developed a pouch to be implanted under the skin in the abdomen of a person with type 1 diabetes, which would act as a natural and protected environment for transplanted islet cells. It’s also working on a complimentary compound that would be mixed with donor cells to protect them from attack by immune cells.


Retinal imaging app for glucose monitoring

This company didn’t present at the summit, but the CEO of IRISense was attending and talked with me about and app that the University of Toledo spinout was developing to replace daily finger sticks with retinal imaging to monitor blood glucose levels. The goal is to increase compliance with testing and keeping glucose levels under control.

Anti-gravity foot brace for diabetic neuropathy

A broken foot turned into a business venture for the founder of Toad Medical. The company developed a suspension brace that unloads weight from the foot and ankle and allows people to remain mobile as their foot injuries heal. About half Toad braceof its customers so far have been diabetic patients with foot ulcers.

Hepatic targeting for insulin

Diasome Pharmaceuticals Inc. is developing a nanotechnology-based delivery system that it says can attach to all of the commercially available forms of insulin and carry them to hepatocytes, which are the primary metabolic cells in the liver. It’s targeting a 2016 NDA for its hepatocyte-directed vessel technology, which has been tested in more than 400 patients in Phase 2 trials.

“Gastric vest” system

Onciomed is running clinical trials of its implant for treatment of obesity and diabetes in countries outside of the U.S. During a laparoscopic procedure, the stomach is tucked into itself and the Gastric Vest System is placed around it so that it holds the shape of a channel to the intestine. That way, food passes through the stomach more quickly, allowing for satiety signals to be sent to the brain sooner.

It’s a less invasive, reversible alternative to other forms of bariatric surgery, said Dr. Raj Nihalani, the inventor. The company recently closed a Series A round and will start commercialization in Europe first.

[Image credit: Toad Medical]

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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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I attended the Cleveland Clinic Innovation Summit and saw the video of Onciomed, I liked it very much and went to www.onciomed.com where they have a link to the video but needs a user name and password. 

All the technologies mention were top notch.

I am obese and I am looking forward for the news of clinical trials in the US and Mexico. I am event thinking of traveling to get this device implanted.

I have been in research. There are no new technologies that are soo good!

We need more info as to where the clinical trials are happening, maybe I can afford to fly up there and get a procedure :-)

Thank you MedCity News for covering these technologies. I have already recommended the foot rest device to one of our family members who has foot ulcers and may get amputated :-/ if not treated in time.


Hi Deanna,

thanks for a lovely article.

I think the medtech sector is going to boom in the next 3 years. See this article:


Talks about the next gen IPOs in the med tech space.

The therapies you mentioned in the article are covered. I like the leg support device and the GVS from the company Onciomed

Who are the new players in Obesity and Diabetes? I see you covered Diasome, Irisense, Onciomed for obesity, Sernova, lap band for obesity. Who else?


Lori Thatch
Lori Thatch

How very sad that none of these innovations targets preventing this very preventable disease.  While I applaud any advancement that makes patients' lives easier, our energy and focus would be so much better rewarded if we could come up with ways to improve lifestyles that lead to Type 2 diabetes.  


Deanna, Its  a great article. The showcase event drew large crowd this year. There were investors, MDs, Entrepreneurs, researchers, journalist and analyst all in one big hall.

Onciomed, Inc from Irvine was the only Obesity technology there, which was very  impressive others were more focused on diabetes and diabetic related problems. I enjoyed viewing all the technologies mentioned in your article. These were the best! Thank you for sharing.