The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an artificial pancreas that is sure to make type-1 diabetes care much easier. It is the second innovation in as many weeks that has dealt a significant blow to the x-syndrome disease.
People with type-1 diabetes in the United States can now take advantage of the first artificial pancreas device. It basically operates by monitoring a person’s blood sugar levels and automatically providing insulin if needed.
This will ease the delivery of insulin whose levels in the body would normally have to be monitored closely by the patient or a caregiver. In a person that is not suffering from type-1 diabetes, the pancreas in the body provides insulin naturally to the body to regulate the blood sugar levels.
When type-1 diabetes strikes, this natural process ceases to work properly. Continuous monitoring and injection of insulin by the patient, therefore, becomes necessary.
The Medtronic artificial pancreas device called the MiniMed 670G which the FDA approved on Wednesday measures a person’s blood sugar levels every five minutes and provides more insulin or withholds it. It is currently approved for people aged 14 years and older (the company is still studying whether the device can work for younger people) who have type-1 diabetes.
The device will be attached to the person’s body and the device users will still have to manually request more insulin after they eat.
Medtronic may have the first FDA-approved artificial pancreas but other companies and researchers are working on different versions of the artificial or bionic pancreas. Most are aiming for a device that would require no input whatsoever from the user.
Although FDA-approved, the device still carries some risks some of which include the possibility of developing hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, and skin irritation. The FDA also recently approved a 5-year clinical trial of BCG vaccine in reversing Type 1 diabetes.