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Monday, October 17, 2016

FDA Approves "Artificial Pancreas" To Help Manage Diabetes

MiniMed 670G by Medtronic

More than 29 million Americans have diabetes. Of these, 5 percent are those with Type 1 diabetes. This type of diabetes is when patients' own pancreas doesn’t make insulin, a hormone needed to turn food into energy. It is usually diagnosed in childhood and can result in dangerously high blood-sugar levels, heart disease and many other health problems. The federal government has just approved an artificial pancreas that may help these patients.
The artificial pancreas was developed by Medtronic, the world's largest stand alone medical technology development company. It's called the MiniMed 670G and has a pump and a sensor that measures blood sugar, with a tube that delivers the right amount of insulin at the right time. Every 5 minutes, the sensor measures sugar levels.

Not approved for children younger than 14

The device was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is considered safe for patients as young as 14 years old and up. The cost of the pump is between $6,000 and $9,000, which is similar to the cost of other insulin pumps. However, this pump measures sugar levels every 5 minutes and either releases or withholds insulin as needed, as opposed to older pumps which just deliver a baseline level of insulin.

A new hope for people with Diabetes

The FDA approved the device based on a three-month study of more than 120 patients. Medtronic hopes eventually to be able to use the device on patients as young as 7-13, as well as patients with Type 2 diabetes, where the body gradually loses the ability to produce or use insulin.

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