Medtronic develops "artificial pancreas" for diabetes patients - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Medtronic develops "artificial pancreas" for diabetes patients

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It's the device so many diabetics have been waiting for -- an insulin pump which senses when your blood sugar is too low and stops pumping insulin.

The manufacturer, Medtronic -- calls this pump an artificial pancreas because a non-diabetic's pancreas does the same thing on its own.

The pump is this black box -- and, the white piece is the sensor on the patient's skin, which can shut the pump off.

Dr. Bruce Bode, a diabetes specialist -- says the device will keep patients safer and let them decide what sugar levels are best for them.

"..Obviously if you live with diabetes around the clock mainly type 1 diabetes when it's insulin independent, people have always been asking when are you going to cure diabetes.  And so there's biological cures as well as artificial cures.  And the first step in the artificial pancreases has just been approved by the FDA and that's a big milestone because this is something everybody's been waiting for. It's not a cure, it's just gonna help people live with diabetes better."

"..Yeah so this new system basically suspends insulin delivery when it crosses a certain glucose threshold that is defined as low.  And in this system you can set that threshold anywhere from 60-90 milligrams per decimeter.  So it's up to the individual patient and the healthcare professional to set this device.  But the first step is just suspending insulin delivery, and that's what the pancreas does.  If I gave you insulin and even though you don't have diabetes and I made your glucose low, your pancreas would automatically suspend its own insulin delivery."  

Medtronic's artificial pancreas is the first device of its kind approved by the FDA.  

Competing companies are developing similar products.


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