*ADA Conference News*
With over 150 companies going all out to showcase the latest and greatest here, I was surprised to hear many conference attendees expressing disappointment not to see anything "earth-shattering" on the new technology front this year. Nevertheless, three continuous monitoring products, currently in the holding pen awaiting FDA approval, look promising:
* DexCom was showing off its new Continuous Monitor, featuring a long-term implantable sensor half the size of a triple-A battery, which is placed subcutaneously in the abdominal wall, where it measures glucose levels every 30 seconds and transmits the data wirelessly to a small receiver. This one is very cool because, although "invasive," the piece that's implanted on the body is tiny.
* Abbott Diabetes Care (which acquired Therasense) was demoing its new FreeStyle Navigator (which has been in the holding pen quite a while). This one utilizes TheraSense's patented Wired Enzymeâ„¢ technology to measure glucose levels in your interstitial fluid every 60 seconds and transmit the results to a wireless pager-sized receiver. It includes alarms if you're headed for a low or high, shows graphs of your levels throughout the week or day, and lets you easily download a ton of useful information for your doctor or CDE to use in helping you make improvements. The downside is just that this is not only an "invasive" monitor (requiring blood), but it the device itself is bigger than many pumps, and is attached via an infusion site like that of a pump. So I wonder how many pump wearers would be willing to hook themselves up to a second device?
* Texas-based Calisto Medical premiered its "Gluco Watch Redux" product, the non-invasive, armband-style continuous monitor called Glucoband. First-round clinical trials are apparently successfully complete, and the Glucoband is being touted as safe, convenient (self-calibrating), cost-effective (no disposable accessories required), and multi-functional (with embedded microprocessor, flash memory, computer interface and time-clock). With its new Bioelectric Impedance Spectroscopy (BEIS) technology, based on "bio-electromagnetic resonance," the company is hoping to avoid the user-unfriendly pitfalls that hampered the GlucoWatch.
New diabetes devices are first aimed at improving BG control, with "patient lifestyle enhancement" coming in at a close second. From that perspective, a couple of other new products, already on the market (!), look extremely interesting:
* Lantus in a PEN! That's right, in case you missed the announcement earlier this year, long-acting Lantus insulin from Aventis is now available in the Opti-Clikâ„¢ injection pen, which is chunkier than most rapid-acting insulin (bolus) pens, but nonetheless extremely convenient. The device uses standard pen needles as well, so no special equipment needed. I'm going to start petitioning my health plans to cover this one as soon as I get home!
* The new Accu-Check "Spirit" pump that sports three levels of menus depending on how many bells and whistles the wearer cares to use. For the very tech-savvy, data can be dowloaded directly to a Treo PDA, so you can truly "converge" your devices: you can view this data in various chart forms, and easily download it to your doctor or care team. The other neat thing this pump does is provide a "flip screen" option, so that you can literally turn the screen display over 180 degrees if you wish to switch the pump to the other side of your body or view it from your waistline just by tipping it upwards.
See my more comprehensive "Patient's Eye View" report on the conference at the DiabetesMonitor today.