Is new device step toward faux pancreas?

March 27, 2006 at 3:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- The approval Monday of a continuous glucose monitoring device brings development of an artificial pancreas a step closer.

That's the claim made Monday by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which said in a statement that the Food and Drug Administration's market clearance of DexCom's STS continuous glucose monitoring system "is an important step in the development of an artificial pancreas -- a major research priority for JDRF."

"Continuous glucose sensors represent a giant leap forward in care for people with diabetes, allowing them to monitor their glucose levels and precisely dose their insulin based on that real-time information," said Aaron Kowalski, JDRF's director of strategic research projects.

"This technology should greatly improve glycemic control -- which research has shown to be the key to reducing or even eliminating both short and long-term complications of diabetes," he said.

The group added, "Monitors such as these are the keys to the eventual development of a closed-loop glucose testing and insulin delivery system, or an 'artificial pancreas.'"

JDRF also said studies show that even patients monitoring their glucose levels frequently -- or an average of nine times daily -- are within normal ranges less than 30 percent of the day, compared with patient outfitted with continuous monitoring systems, who spend 26 percent more time in normal glucose ranges.

DexCom's new device is placed under the patient's skin and provides real-time glucose levels and alerts when those levels become too high or too low.

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