The device, embedded on an RFID chip, could face an uphill battle in the face of cancer reports.
VeriChip, along with its parent company Digital Angel and partner Receptors, is developing a bio-sensing device that would be included in a subdermal RFID chip that could lead to diabetics no longer having to stick themselves with a needle to monitor glucose levels.
The companies will host an event in New York Dec. 5 to announce plans to build a prototype self-contained implantable device that will have the ability to measure glucose levels in the human body.
However, despite the possibility of doing away with a lifetime of needle pricks for diabetics, VeriChip may be fighting an uphill battle. In September, the Associated Press ran a story that said that both VeriChip and the Food and Drug Administration failed to mention a series of veterinary and toxicology studies dating to the mid-1990s that showed VeriChips implants had caused malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats.
According to the AP article, from 1996 to 2006, a number of studies reported incidences of malignant tumors in lab mice and rats that had been implanted with RFID chips; in some cases the tumors completely enveloped the chips.
Different studies reported various percentages of mice and rats with cancer. A 1998 U.S. study found more than 10 percent in a group of 177 tested mice developed tumors, while a 1997 German study revealed incidences of cancer in only 1 percent in a group of more than 4,000. The researchers in the German study said that the tumors "are clearly due to the implanted microchips."
To read about VeriChips patented RFID reader, click here.
VeriChip responded to the article with an enumerated list: VeriChip is safe and has been cleared by the FDA; millions of dogs and cats have safely received similar microchips over the past 15 years with "limited or no reports of adverse health reactions"; and laboratory mice and rats have a high probability of tumors at any injection site, regardless of the type of injection.
The self-contained implantable device VeriChip will unveil Dec. 5 will be embedded in an RFID chip. VeriChip Chairman and CEO Scott Silverman said in a statement that "upon complete development, this technology can change the lives of patients with diabetes, providing them with a convenient way to monitor their blood-sugar levels. Today, the common method involves a prick of the finger. Our self-contained sensor can change that."
The system would allow for one injection every four to six months. Once implanted, the chip would let diabetics externally scan the device to retrieve a blood sugar reading as often as necessary, according to Silverman.
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