November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. In addition to informing our readers about the importance of World Diabetes Day, the TUNG Brush and Gel team thought we would bring you some great news about the incredible progress that has been made in insulin delivery for patients with Type 1 Diabetes.
Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration approved Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G hybrid closed loop system, which is the closest thing yet to an artificial pancreas for people with Type 1 diabetes. With Type 1 Diabetes, the pancreas produces insufficient or no insulin, so patients have to replace the vital hormone with either multiple daily injections or a pump. Either method requires constant monitoring, which can be erroneous based on fluctuations due to food, exercise, or the time of day. The wrong amount of insulin can lead to significant problems.
The new system is made up of an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor which communicate with one another constantly. Medtronic’s previous insulin system shut down the insulin pump if the user’s blood sugar dropped too low. This new system predicts not only when a person’s blood sugar is dropping, it prevents the low level in the first place, and also corrects high blood sugars as they occur.
The 670G is not a considered a fully closed loop system, since users will still need to input that they are about to eat and will also have to provide an estimate of each meal’s carbohydrate count. In that way, the device can calculate the additional amount of insulin needed. While there is still, therefore, the possibility of errors, even if the count is off the 670G will correct the error automatically.
This is as close to an artificial pancreas as science has ever come to help patients live with Type 1 Diabetes! Patients will be able to sleep through the night without worry and will be able to pursue their daily routines without constantly paying attention to their insulin levels.
Aaron Kowalski, chief mission officer for the JDRF, a leading force in Diabetes research and advocacy, said of the MiniMed670G: “The diabetes isn’t gone, but [wearers] can think about it less …This is a historic milestone.”
We at TUNG Brush and Gel want to congratulate Medtronic Inc. for this milestone development, and thank the Federal Drug Administration for its approval. Surely this new system will bring more ease of mind and an improved lifestyle for its users.