Apple has team of biomedical engineers working on diabetes treatment technology

Apple has had a small team of biomedical engineers working on a secret initiative to develop non-invasive glucose sensors in what it hopes would be a game-changer for diabetes treatment, CNBC reports.

The effort -- apparently under way for at least five years, and envisioned originally by co-founder Steve Jobs -- hopes to be the first to track blood sugar levels accurately without piercing the skin. One source said the team is working on optical sensors that might shine a light through the skin for measurement.

Jobs saw wearables such as the Apple Watch being used to monitor a variety of vital signs, including blood glucose. And success could mean a boon for the watch with an appeal to millions of patients, notes Seeking Alpha.

The initiative is reportedly far enough along that Apple has been conducting feasibility trials at clinical sites across the Bay Area and has hired consultants to help it figure out the regulatory pathways. The company's glucose team is said to report to the company's senior vice president of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji.

And it's not the only one in a race for the "holy grail" of diabetes treatment. Verily, a life-sciences unit at Alphabet, is working on glucose sensors including a smart contact lens that would measure levels through the eye, according to Seeking Alpha.