FDA approves 'artificial pancreas' to manage diabetes
Federal regulators have approved a first-of-a-kind "artificial pancreas," a device that can help some diabetes patients manage their disease by constantly monitoring their blood sugar and delivering insulin as needed.
The device from Medtronic was approved Wednesday for patients with Type 1 diabetes, the kind usually diagnosed during childhood. About 5 percent of the nation's 29 million Americans with diabetes have this type.
Doctors said they have long awaited a device that could help patients around the clock.
"I can't wait to get my hands on it because I can think of a lot of our patients who need this," said the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Betul Hatipoglu. "Now I have a helper who is going to help me to help them."
Type 1 diabetes patients now have to manage their insulin through multiple injections throughout the day or a drug pump that delivers it through a tube. Their own pancreas doesn't make insulin, a hormone needed to turn food into energy. They face increased risks of dangerously high blood-sugar levels, heart disease and many other health problems.
The new MiniMed 670G consists of a drug pump, a sensor that measures blood sugar and a tube that delivers the insulin. The sensor measures sugar levels every 5 minutes, infusing or withholding insulin as needed. Patients still have to manually increase insulin before meals.
Medtronic said the device will cost between $6,000 and $9,000, similar to its other insulin pumps.
Older insulin pumps simply deliver a baseline level of insulin, and patients must monitor their sugar levels and give themselves more insulin Continue reading