“I am the company’s lab rat. They take blood from me every day,” Bio-Impedance
General Ltd. CEO Gadi Kan Tor told Globes in describing the company’s
noninvasive monitor of blood glucose levels for
Bio-Impedance’s product, which resembles a watch, was
originally developed to measure blood nitrogen levels for divers, to alert them
when it was too high.
When the company demonstrated the product to Kan
Tor, he immediately realized its potential for measuring blood glucose
“There are five million divers altogether, but about 550 million
diabetics who test their blood glucose levels daily,” he said.
thought that Bio-Impedance’s product would spare him the need to prick himself,
and he invested in the company together with his father, Zvi Kan Tor, and Dr.
“The initial technology demonstrated to us didn’t really
work,” he said, “but the concept had potential, so we decided to
As Kan Tor’s involvement in Bio-Impedance increased, so did the
number of needles he endured for the sake of science.
“This was my
mission – I’m the diabetic here,” he said.
The company’s first prototype
was primitive, Shy Hefetz, Bio-Impedance’s scientific manager for the glucose
project, told Globes.
“It was a box full of wires that could measure
blood glucose levels, but only if the patient was sitting down, didn’t move and
barely breathed,” he said. “The system is designed to provide real-time data –
data that takes 20 hours to analyze.
We did this just to prove that the
core technology can measure blood glucose levels, and we succeeded.”
system could provide an accurate blood glucose count in real time, Hefetz said,
adding, “We’ve conducted scores of tests of the product.”
Kan Tor was the
subject of most of them because, as a company employee, it was ethical to test
the product on himself.
“Under the Helsinki Conventions, human trials are
forbidden,” Hefetz said.
“It is also forbidden to take test subjects off
the streets. That’s a pity, because we’re based in Givatayim and surrounded by
“For example, when Gadi exercises on the gym bicycle,
the system can tell us the gradual changes in his blood glucose levels,” he
said. “We conducted other tests on other volunteers from the company, and we now
want to conduct our first and controlled large trial at
Bio-Impedance intends to raise $800,000 in the near future to
finance the clinical trial.
“The system is suitable for certain
patients,” Hanna Riez, Bio-Impedance’s scientific manager for the diving
project, told Globes. “It still has to be calibrated to really measure hundreds
of thousands of people with different characteristics.
“Today, the system
is affected by several factors in addition to blood glucose levels, such as
temperature, the diameter of blood vessels and skin thickness. We’ve already
succeeded in neutralizing most of the variables, and we believe that we can
neutralize all of them.”
Globes: The world is full of companies trying to
develop noninvasive systems to measure glucose. Aren’t you deterred by the
challenge? Hefetz: “Of course. More than 100 companies have tried before us, but
we’ve already passed the point at which most of them closed. Technology has
moved forward during this time; processors have been developed that are accurate
enough to measure tiny changes in electrical resistance. Diabetes and
biological- markers research has also advanced.
Every article gives us
another idea on how to bypass the obstacles.”
Kan Tor: “I believe that
after we make the breakthrough, we won’t be alone.”
How does your patent
work? Hefetz: “The technology measures the electrical resistance of blood
vessels. It sends a low-strength electric current through the skin of the arm
and measures the reaction of the blood vessels close to the skin. The concept
resembles fat measurements in a gym, in which an electric current is sent
through the tissue to find out by the resistance what it is made of.”
Tor: “The electrical resistance of blood vessels is affected by blood glucose
levels. The objective is for the product to be a kind of band attached to the
patient’s arm, and like a watch it will show the blood glucose level every
minute or every five minutes.”
Hefetz: “We’ll first target hospitals.
This will be a big and heavy product, but effective and noninvasive, and it can
replace the protocol of pricking the finger every 20 minutes to obtain a blood
Bio-Impedance hopes its product will find a market for measuring
blood nitrogen levels, especially since there is little
“This could actually be a very nice product, but its
development costs are as high as the blood glucose monitor,” Kan Tor said. “In
fact, it’s even more complicated because we have to operate in an environment
with high and changing external pressure.”
“To develop it, we need a
system that would take this an a nonprofit task,” he said. “We wrote to the
Israel Navy and US Navy about the product, but they decided not to do anything