Bloomberg is reporting that the FDA has approved a medical device created by Medtronic PLC that will function as an artificial pancreas for people with type 1 diabetes. The device has every potential to improve the quality of life for people who must live with the chronic disease.
The artificial pancreas consists of a blood glucose monitor, an insulin pump, and a control device the size of a smartphone. The glucose monitor measures blood sugar levels every five minutes and then signals the insulin pump to administer the right amount of the hormone needed to process the blood sugar into energy to keep the body alive.
Currently, people with type 1 diabetes have to regularly monitor their blood sugar and inject themselves with insulin as needed. The artificial pancreas will lift a great part of that burden.
The Medtronic PLC device is not a perfect solution. People with type 1 diabetes will still have to monitor themselves during meals and inject themselves as needed. The device will have to be re-calibrated periodically.
The approval is being fast-tracked because of remarkable results from human trials. The device, which is due to be available in spring 2017, will be used by people 14 years and older who have type 1 diabetes. Currently, trials are taking place examining its suitability for children between the ages of seven and 13. The device is considered unsafe for children six and younger. Also, the company is being required to conduct ongoing trials to examine how it works in daily life. Approval outside the United States is expected to happen in the summer of 2017.
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