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Foundations, Medtronic to Partner on Glucose Monitoring

Paradigm Veo (Medtronic, U.K.)

Paradigm Veo (Medtronic, U.K.)

JDRF and the Helmsley Charitable Trust have agreed to support work by Medtronic Inc. in Minneapolis on continuous glucose monitoring systems that can lead to development of an artificial pancreas. Financial details of that support were not disclosed.

JDRF has awarded more than $1.6 billion to diabetes research since 1970, while the Helmsley Charitable Trust (HCT) has committed over $100 million to type 1 diabetes research.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s pancreas stops producing enough insulin, a hormone needed to turn food into energy. People with type 1 diabetes must test their blood glucose levels, by pricking their fingers for blood or with the aid of a continuous glucose monitor, and administer insulin accordingly with either shots or an insulin pump, multiple times throughout every day.

The JDRF-HCT Sensor Initiative aims to advance continuous glucose monitoring accuracy and reliability towards a new type of artificial pancreas systems. The foundations say continuous glucose monitoring devices today have already helped improve glucose control in people with type 1 diabetes, and advances to improve their accuracy and reliability can allow for more aggressive insulin management, leading to development of automated artificial pancreas systems.

Continuous glucose monitoring devices provide a real-time snapshot of the glucose level of a person with diabetes, as well as show the upwards or downwards trend in glucose, and the speed of that trend. The devices also provide warnings when the glucose is becoming too high or too low. These sensors are used today with automated systems that can deliver insulin some of the time.

Future systems that operate more like a natural pancreas that restores non-diabetes like glucose levels and are automated most of the time will require more advanced sensors with increased accuracy and error detection capabilities. Medtronic’s work in this field includes development of the Paradigm Veo (pictured at top), a device that automatically suspends insulin delivery if the sensor shows a glucose value equal to or below the low threshold. This device is available outside the U.S. and undergoing clinical trials for FDA approval.

Katie Szyman, who heads Medtronic’s diabetes business unit, says the company is unveiling its optical-based glucose monitoring technology that can complement current electrochemical glucose oxidase sensors. Combining both types of sensors provides an internal verification of glucose measurements, and thus a greater level of reliability needed by an artificial pancreas system.

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