Two steps forward in diabetes technology were announced this week, My Friends:
First, the FDA has cleared a new wireless diabetes management system called inTouchâ„¢·diabetes. The system was created by West Chester, PA-based SymCare, Inc., a company started by Johnson & Johnson.
"The new web-based system uses a combination of objective biometric data, education and a rewards program to better engage patients in effective diabetes management."
It's not exactly clear from the press release if this program is proprietary to J&J LifeScan metering products -- or can be used by any patient using any device -- but here's what's different about this logging program according to the provider:
· it automatically collects blood sugar readings from a glucose meter (see above) and wirelessly transmits them to a secure web site, allowing patients and caregivers to identify trends.
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· it also enables text messaging to cellphones for on-the-go management (yeah, if your doctor's up for that).
· it offers "live one-on-one discussions about information that patients can discuss with their healthcare providers" (this I have to see)
· it provides content from Johns Hopkins University and diet and exercise programs from e-Diets, AND a rewards program linked to Amazon.com® "that can lead to behavioral changes and improved outcomes" (everybody does love free stuff!)
Hmm, inTouch certainly sounds like a step up from your run-of-the-mill PC-based diabetes logging program. Actual value TBD.
Also this week, diabetes researchers have achieved "a key step toward the successful development of an Artificial Pancreas." I didn't post this first because I didn't want to get your hopes up. This is one of those incremental steps in the nebulous world of research that may be more exciting to researchers at this moment than to us D-folk out in the Real World.
Here's why: what researchers have done is to effectively tie together a number of existing diabetes technologies -- including the OmniPod insulin pump and Personal Diabetes Manager that controls it, a continuous glucose monitor, in this case either the FreeStyle Navigator® or the DexCom STS7® -- and then created an algorithm to automate and evaluate the interaction between them.
This overarching software, if it works well, is certainly a big piece of the Artificial Pancreas puzzle. According to lead researcher Eyal Dassau of UC Santa Barbara, this achievement will allow researchers to fully verify and validate that an artificial pancreas can efficiently operate in the variety of conditions prior to patient trials. In other words, test how SAFE the system is before plugging patients into it.
Good stuff! Yet naturally, it will be a while still until the AP goes mainstream.