The first ‘artificial pancreas’ systems are coming to market
The first so-called artificial pancreas systems – wearable devices that take charge of the crucial process of measuring glucose levels and delivering precise doses of insulin – are now beginning to come to market.
That’s welcome news for the nation’s 30 million diabetics, who stand not only to get some relief from the seemingly incessant stream of lancets, test strips and syringes, but also to stay healthier. That’s because an artificial pancreas can keep the disease on a tighter leash than they can, by testing more frequently and delivering more precise insulin doses.
That’s not only important for patients, but could ease strains on the nation's healthcare system.
This spring, Medtronic became the first supplier out of the gate when it began outfitting a pre-selected pool of type 1 diabetes patients with its new MiniMed 670G. Once that group is trained and equipped – probably by midyear – Medtronic expects to make the device more widely available.
Several efforts – including startup Bigfoot Biomedical, Insulet and a partnership between Dexcom, Tandem and TypeZero – are hot on Medtronic’s heels, with active studies now underway and plans to go to market late this year or in 2018.
Though the term artificial pancreas is widely used, medical professionals tend to steer clear because some patients hear it and think they’re in for an organ transplant. They’re not. An artificial pancreas doesn’t replace the actual organ. Devices aren’t implanted or surgically attached. Moreover, they only take over one of the organ’s digestive responsibilities: tha Continue reading