Tuesday night I had drinks with a very smart diabetes-savvy lady named Kelly Close. Kelly runs her own consultancy, CloseConcerns, that conducts diabetes and obesity research for a number of top-notch firms. Naturally, she is very well-connected in the Diabetes Community. She also recently started a blog on her website with updates on industry news. (Click Weblog in the left-had nav bar).
I learned so much! (and the wine was great...)
Kelly's group evaluates all manner of new developments and new companies in the diabetes space. In particular, they look closely at new drugs and their "side effect profiles," i.e. weight gain, edema, gastrointestinal problems, or effects on the CNS (central nervous system) -- always major factors in vying for FDA approval. Safety first, right?
But Kelly noted that in her opinion, the flap about Symlin causing hypoglycemia is somewhat silly: it's insulin that causes hypoglycemia. The trouble is that many Symlin users fail to adjust their insulin doses properly.
- need for an accurate sensor working internally in the patient's body
- algorithm problems: the equation in the pump has to be exactly right, or dosing may be very wrong
- need for a counter-regulatory mechanism, i.e. you may need a chamber with glucagon that can be released to counteract an overdose of insulin or unexpected physical activity*
*reminds you how remarkable nature is, with all these checks and balances built right in to a real, healthy pancreas (sigh...)
Anyway, most interesting of all: Kelly is actually on the new Insulet OmniPod pump! A Type 1 since age 15 and a highly motivated patient, she was in one of the clinical studies and was allowed to continue on the new tubeless pump. It really is as neat as it looks! She's got the little pod attached to one upper arm, and the PalmPilot-like controller unit also doubles as the glucose meter, so only one thing to carry!
Oooh, I went home a little tipsy, very well-informed, and with a bad case of device envy...