“Artificial Pancreas” Approved by the FDA

medtronicIn the news this week was a story about the FDA’s approval of a new insulin delivery system for people with type 1 diabetes – the so-called artificial pancreas.

The new Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G hybrid closed loop system is an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM). The two devices can communicate.

Medtronic’s previous system already had a feature that would stop the insulin pump if a person’s blood sugar dropped too low. The 670G predicts when a person’s blood sugar level is dropping, preventing the low in the first place. It also corrects high blood sugars.

This is the first time such a level of automation has been available, which is why the pump is being called an artificial pancreas.

However, it still can’t work out what a person is eating. The wearer needs to tell the device they are about to eat and how many carbohydrates they will be ingesting – hence the name hybrid closed loop, instead of fully closed loop.

There is still a possibility of mistakes – the wearer under or overestimating the number of carbs they are about to eat – but the 670G will correct the error if blood sugar levels go too far up or down.

There are thought to be five other partnerships between manufacturers also looking to develop similar pumps.

The pump won’t be available until the spring of next year and Medtronic expects to start rolling the new product out outside of the US from summer 2017.

Read Medtronic’s press release here.

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