Finally, a chance to offer a roundup of some of the most intriguing things I saw on the show floor at last weekend's annual ADA conference here in San Francisco:
* From Medtronic, a prototype of a "baby monitor" device that connects wirelessly with the Guardian CGM system. The idea is that parents would purchase a unit they could plug into the wall and place on their bedside table to view and monitor junior's BG levels all night. The long-distance wireless signal pickup is enabled by a small powerful transmitter that you plug into the wall in your child's bedroom, or any room where they will spend time. These look like the little charger packs you plug into the wall to recharge your cell phone, without the wires connecting to the phone of course. Theoretically, you could have one in every room in the house so you could always keep tabs on your child's CGM results. Could be a Godsend! But still in prototype stage. And although pretty isn't a priority here, this concept was definitely not touched by the "consumer design" push yet. The unit they were displaying in the Medtronic booth was beige and brown and very "hospital-ish" in its look and feel.
* From Intuity Medical, the new OnQâ„¢ all-in-one glucose monitor that contains the lancets and test strips right on-board. It looks like a largish cell phone, but on closer inspection you discover that everything you need to test is housed within, on a self-contained, multi-test cartridge, which incorporates the lancing device, the lancet and test strip (!) All the user has to do — and this is the amazing part — is hold a finger over the little hole and press, and it pokes you AND absorbs the blood right onto a strip. So you've done away with one entire step, along with the fuss and mess of carrying around separate lancets and test strips. Wow! Again, still in prototype stage (not yet FDA approved), and cost is TBD. But I like where they're going, LCD screen and all.
* From Bayer Healthcare, Precose tablets -- not a new drug, but interesting to me because I wasn't familiar with it before, and my co-author Dr. Jackson tells me it's "very helpful" for some people with Type 2 diabetes. Precose "tackles the carbohydrate problem... by slowing the digestion of carbohydrates." While this sounds like GI pain in the making to me, I'm guessing it must be pretty popular based on current lawsuit activity, i.e. fighting over rights to market the generic form.
* Also from Bayer, the upgraded version of its Contour blood glucose meter. This is a no-coding meter that allows patients to select either the "basic" or "advanced" levels of testing, depending on how much you like to play with all the fancy features. It will come in three different colors when it hits the market later this summer. What caught my eye, however, was the new MicroLet2 lancing system they were showing off. For some reason, I'm on a lancing kick at the moment, so I just had to go over and inspect this funky-looking pricker. It's sort of ergonomic, and is actually designed so that patients can use it with just one hand, I am told. It has a function to "eject" each needle when you're finished with it, so no turning and pulling and poking yourself when attempting to remove the old one (assuming you do that ;) )
* From BioRad Laboratories, in2it on-site A1c testing device. It's the next generation of a "box" that offers a quick, accurate, in-office A1c result for every patient. So why doesn't every doctor treating diabetes have this? Why doesn't MY doctor have this? Man, I hate going to the lab! I couldn't find pricing information on the company's website, but I'm assuming it costs a pretty penny. But talk about improving quality of life with diabetes. Keep me away from the hospital lab, and I am a much happier person.
A couple of approaches to "hold back" Type 1 diabetes, for the very newly diagnosed:
* Diamyd Medical believes it has found and easy and effective treatment to "arrest or slow down the autoimmune process" that normally kills off beta cells so fast. It is an injectable "therapeutic vaccine" given to patients diagnosed with Type 1 within 3 months or less. This Swedish company is currently conducting two parallel Phase 3 human trials with patients aged 10-20 years. Dr. Jay Skyler, chairman of the nationwide TrialNet study, just announced intentions to launch an NIH/TrialNet prevention trial using Diamyd in subjects at high risk for developing Type 1. This is the kind of thing you don't want to get too excited about, because it sounds so incredible, so I'm sitting on my hands right now (after I finish this post).
* From ProtÃ©gÃ© Diabetes, yet another investigational drug -- teplizumab -- designed to reduce or prevent the autoimmune attack that damages insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The drug is a CD3 monoclonal antibody that may protect the beta cells by attaching to T cells before the T cells can attack your beta cells. "If teplizumab works, people with Type 1 diabetes may need less injected insulin," the company's materials state. They're currently recruiting patients in 10 countries for an international clinical trial. You have to be 8 to 35 years old, diagnosed within 12 weeks of the study start, and willing to receive daily IV infusions of the study drug for up to 14 consecutive days at an outpatient facility. Infusions? Yeeechh. Still, I wish them much luck halting the immune attack.
* And just for fun, a couple of photos of that Lincoln sedan outfitted with Medtonic's CGMS system that I mentioned on Monday:
Would you, could you, drive your car, watching your blood glucose go so far?