A few days ago Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland, and Google begun a partnership to develop contact lenses that monitor glucose levels in tears. The Google-Novartis prototype lenses contain a device that measures glucose in tears and a wireless antenna transmits the measurements to an external device. This way, they can help diabetics track their own blood glucose levels and hope to commercialize it before 2019.
Novartis and Google are also looking forward to develop other “smart lenses” that can for example detect cancer, thanks to some well-known biomarkers, or use contact lenses to deliver drugs continuously in a lower level than actually deliver.
There is still a long way to go before we see the commercialization of glucose-monitoring lenses, night vision lenses, cancer-detecting lenses or drug-delivering lenses, which need flexible and thin materials to be user-friendly and to go through all regulatory approvals to prove these lenses are effective and safe.
- Contributed by Liliane Gonzalez – Scientific collaborator intern for swissnex China