Artifical Pancreas for Type 1 Diabetics Approved by FDA
September 30, 2013 12:08 PM
comment(s) - last by
It will roll out in the next few weeks
Type 1 diabetics
could benefit from a new "artificial pancreas" device now that it has received proper approval for the U.S. market.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved an artificial pancreas device for the very first time, allowing it to hit the market in the next few weeks.
The device -- called the MiniMed 530G -- is by
, and it consists of two parts: a continuous glucose monitoring system, and an insulin pump that administers the appropriate amount of synthetic insulin.
The glucose monitoring system lets the patient know exactly what their blood sugar is, and the wearer then uses the pump to input the correct amount of insulin for high blood sugar levels.
If the patient has low blood sugar, the pump will alert the patient and shut off insulin supply for two hours. If blood sugar drops too low, patients can experience a diabetic coma.
The pump looks like a pager, which attaches to the patient's pants and is connected to a sensor that slips right underneath the patient's skin. The glucose monitoring system looks like a small patch with a plastic clip, which is placed on the patient's stomach.
The MiniMed 530G aims to improve the quality of life of diabetics, allowing for greater blood glucose control. It's
by no means a cure
, but it can help keep blood sugar levels from rising and falling too rapidly, which can cause complications like nerve damage, blindness, kidney problems, etc. further down the line.
While the device could be a helpful tool, know that its false alarm rate is 33 percent -- so it could still use some improvement.
With the FDA's approval, Medtronics plans to release the MiniMed 530G in the next few weeks.
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RE: How is this different from a pump that uses a catheter?
9/30/2013 1:59:10 PM
Current pumps deliver insulin on a scheduled basis, with no regard for blood glucose levels. You have a meter and a pump that operate independently, forming an open loop. The wearer must enter the dosage amount based on meter readings. If someone's blood glucose is too low (e.g. skipped a meal), the pump won't know and will continue giving insulin.
This new device forms a closed loop, since it receives "real-time" monitoring data (every 5 minutes) via radio frequency sent from the meter (which is not built in). It doesn't change the dosage amount, but it
cut off insulin delivery if blood glucose is too low. It's a little bit smarter than your usual pump.
Your body does real-time monitoring of blood glucose (aka glycemia, or BGL) and releases insulin if BGL is too high. The pancreas also releases glucagon if BGL is too low. Future pumps, combined with sensors, would release both in varying amounts, as necessary. Not at the same time, of course, since insulin and glucagon are opposites.
Some users of pumps are aware of this problem, so they provide a lower dosage of insulin, leading to higher blood glucose levels than normal. To them, it's better than passing out, which is true if you operate a vehicle, or do anything potentially dangerous.
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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