The Artificial Pancreas is Coming, and Other Highlights from ADA 2016


After taking a 15-month-break from writing about diabetes (15 months being the age of my daughter—coincidence?), I recently jumped back on the diabetes bandwagon and went to New Orleans for the American Diabetes Association’s 2016 Scientific Sessions.

I’m glad I did. It was an interesting meeting, and gave me hope that the next few years are going to hold some very exciting developments for people with diabetes. Here are my top five takeaways:

1. The artificial pancreas is coming

It wasn’t so long ago that the idea of having a closed loop system—that is, a continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump working in tandem to regulate your blood sugar for you—was a far-off dream. In fact, I actually had a dream recently in which I was wearing one, and was pretty disappointed when I woke up. But it was clear at ADA that the pace of development is accelerating quickly, and that the first version of such a system may be closer than I thought.

Most tangibly, after presenting tantalizing data at ADA, Medtronic announced on June 27 that it has submitted its Hybrid Closed Loop System (otherwise known as the MMT-670G system) to the FDA for approval.

The system consists of two parts: an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor. Once the system has been calibrated, the pump uses the readings from the CGM (which are taken every five minutes) to deliver insulin, with the goal of keeping blood sugars within a target range. Continue reading
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