The competition for a continuous glucose monitoring system that can replace the classic finger prick blood tests for diabetes is heating up. Several new products have come to the market this year that use various techniques to test blood glucose levels continuously without the need for a blood test, but several have faltered with complaints of inaccurate readings and skin irritation.
Tarra Robinson was afraid that she was going to lose her job. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 18 months old, Tarra had recently developed hypoglycemic unawareness, which affects about 17% of type 1 diabetics. Tarra was passing out at work, and once she even crashed her car when her blood sugar dropped unexpectedly. She went on a pump and tried a CGM, but nothing seemed to help. She was still having frequent, dangerous lows.
The Holy Grail pursued by all diabetes researchers is a complete cure for both the type 1 and type 2 forms of the disease. But until then, the "artificial pancreas," a combination of glucose monitoring and insulin dosing technology, may be as close as they get to a final breakthrough in treating diabetes.
Bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego and GlySens Incorporated have developed an implantable glucose sensor and wireless telemetry system that continuously monitors tissue glucose and transmits the information to an external receiver. The paper, published in the July 28, 2010 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, describes the use of this glucose-sensing device as an implant in animals for over one year. After human clinical trials and FDA approval, the device may be useful to people with diabetes as an alternative to finger sticking, and to short-term needle-like glucose sensors that have to be replaced every three to seven days.
A massive study involving 485 people with type 1 diabetes at 30 locations across North America shows that the combination of an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor helps patients achieve significantly lower A1c levels than multiple daily insulin injections.
Over 80 years ago, famed diabetologist Elliot Joslin said about the treatment of patients with type 1 diabetes: "Ketoacidosis may kill a patient, but frequent hypoglycemic reactions will ruin him." Unfortunately, hypoglycemia continues to be the most difficult problem facing most patients, families, and caregivers who deal with the management of type 1 diabetes on a daily basis. Frequent hypoglycemia episodes not only can "ruin," or adversely impact the quality of life for patients, but also, when severe, can cause seizures, coma, and even death.
MINNEAPOLIS - March 17, 2010 - Medtronic, Inc. today announced it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the MiniMed Paradigm® REAL-Time RevelTM System, the next generation of the industry's only integrated diabetes management system (insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and diabetes therapy management software). The system incorporates new innovative CGM features including predictive alerts that can give early warning to people with diabetes so they can take action to prevent dangerous high or low glucose events.
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