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Medtech Takes Leap Toward New Artificial Pancreas System

Product Specialist | Shield HealthCare
03/03/20  9:28 AM PST
continuous glucose monitors

In February, 2020, exciting news of progress towards the second closed-loop system, or “artificial pancreas,” hit the diabetes community. Medtech companies Dexcom and Abbott each partnered with Insulet to integrate their technologies to develop the new artificial pancreas.

Insulet’s Insulin Pump

Insulet is the maker of the Omnipod® delivery system, a wearable insulin pump. Referred to as a pod, this pump is tubeless, waterproof and discrete. Additionally, the pod is programmable and able to deliver 72 hours of continuous insulin, eliminating the need for needles and pens.

Continuous Glucose Monitors

Dexcom and Abbott are both makers of their own continuous glucose monitors. These CGM systems include a wearable sensor that “…measures your interstitial glucose level, which is the glucose found in the fluid between the cells. The sensor tests glucose every few minutes. A transmitter wirelessly sends the information to a monitor” (NIDDK).

The Dexcom CGM measures the patient’s glucose 24 hours a day and compiles comprehensive data available via monitor. This helps users see trends in their glucose levels especially in response to exercise, eating, and illness. With real time readings day and night (up to 288 measurements in 24 hours), patients are aware of their glucose status at all times. According to Dexcom, studies show that use of a CGM reduces their A1C and risk of hypoglycemia. The system is even compatible with smart devices and is meant to “minimize the guesswork that comes with making treatment decisions.”

Similarly, the Abbott CGM senor is worn on the back upper arm and provides current glucose readings, a trend arrow and an eight hour history when scanned by the reader device. This system is also able to send glucose data to other smart devices.

The Second Closed-Loop System

“Medtech companies have been working to create an automated insulin delivery system that requires minimal action from patients — and these integrations put both firms one step closer to this goal. We’ve seen medtech companies go toe-to-toe in their efforts to develop a closed-loop system — or “artificial pancreas” —  to more effectively manage diabetes” (Business Insider).

These partnerships follow the recent FDA approval of Control-IQ Technology, an algorithm that allows an insulin pump and CGM to talk to each other. Based on the CGM readings, the system will decide how much insulin and/or other medication should be delivered to the patient.

On the heals of Medtronic’s first closed-loop system, the Dexcom-Insulet and Abbott-Insulet integration will revolutionize diabetes management for those living with Type 1 Diabetes and insulin-dependent Type 2 Diabetes.

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