NPR, October 18, 2017
Miriam E. Tucker


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[...] Both continuous glucose sensing and fast-acting insulin are critical components to the development of so-called "closed-loop" or artificial pancreas systems, which aim to automate insulin delivery to the point that patients themselves don't need to make complicated and error-prone calculations about how many carbs are in their meals or how much to cut back their insulin doses for exercise.

In September 2016, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Medtronic's 670G, the first device that partially accomplishes the closed-loop goal via an algorithm that allows the system's CGM to instruct its insulin pump to cut off delivery if the user's blood sugar drops, or increase it if the levels go too high.

Several other companies are working on similar technology. One of those, a start-up called Bigfoot Biomedical is working with Abbott to use a next-generation version of the Libre's sensor. Except for Medtronic, the other major closed-loop competitors – Insulet, Tandem, and Beta-Bionics – are all collaborating with Dexcom.

At the same time, a group of do-it-yourself hackers has figured out how to create their own closed-loop systems using older equipment and instructions that are freely available. Since that endeavor isn't regulated by the FDA, people who have done it – believed to number in the thousands at this point – proceed at their own risk. No major problems have been reported. [...]

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