Biomedical researchers continue to make enormous achievements in the development of an artificial pancreas. Last September 28, 2016, the FDA approved the first device system that serves as an artificial pancreas. It is Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G System.
The MiniMed 670G will automatically monitor blood sugar and accurately adjust basal insulin doses in individuals with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is the pancreas not able to produce insulin. It is often diagnosed in children. Type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas produces insulin but the body fails to utilize insulin properly and the pancreas, over time, is unable to keep up with the demand. Type 2 diabetes is often referred to as adult-onset diabetes.
Most diabetics today must have insulin injected either by themselves or with the help of a caregiver or with a drug pump. Blood glucose is monitored several times a day by taking patient blood samples and using diagnostic strips and a glucose monitor.
Diabetes is common in the U.S. with over 29 million citizens diagnosed. Roughly 1.5 million Americans have type 1 diabetes. Medtronic’s new artificial pancreas is currently approved only for diabetic patients 14 years old or older. Continued clinical research is seeking ways to make the device safe and effective in children between the ages of 7 and 13.
“This first-of-its-kind technology can provide people with type 1 diabetes greater freedom to live their lives without having to consistently and manually monitor baseline glucose levels and administer insulin,” stated Dr. Jeffery Shuren, M.D., J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Device and Radiological Health.
Medical research continues to seek ways improve health and treat disease. Work needs to be done to continue to find better methods to treat the type 2 diabetic and to improve the quality of life.