With the New Year right around the corner, we’re keeping up our tradition of reviewing what made this past year one to remember in the Diabetes World.
Here at the ‘Mine, if we had to boil 2019 down to a single theme, it might be: Feeling the Impact.
That is, we could feel real change on many levels this year: in new technology and interoperability decision-making at the FDA, the DIY #WeAreNotWaiting movement changing lives and gathering the scientific evidence to back that up, and actual policy change happening on the access and affordability front.
In addition, it wouldn’t be a stretch to dub this the Decade of the Closed Loop. Because we saw not only the long-awaited early “Artificial Pancreas” systems make it to market, but also a huge boom in use of DIY homemade systems in which thousands across the world are now using.
Here’s a look at what stood out to us in 2019, month-by-month:
Powerhouse non-profit Beyond Type 1 made news starting with Thom Scher taking over as CEO in January and the launch of a new type 2 diabetes focused brand, Beyond Type 2. Beyond Type 1 also teamed up with JDRF in a new collaborative alliance that has many in the community excited.
With the first-ever implantable Eversense CGM becoming available here in the U.S., our own Amy Tenderich got to start using it, and offered her initial review and follow-up impressions on this latest diabetes technology.
The New Year 2019 also brought a big data-sharing outage for Dexcom, and while the CGM company resolved that in short order, it unfortunately didn’t stop that kind of outage from happening again… That all brought an important reminder that despite all the benefits D-tech can offer, sometimes medical technology fails and we need to be prepared for that.
In a groundbreaking decision pushing us closer to diabetes device interoperability, the FDA gave the Tandem t:slim X2 insulin pump a new “Alternate Controller Enabled” (ACE) device designation — meaning, it’s pre-approved for use with compatible devices such as CGMs.
No doubt, diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) is very dangerous and can sometimes hit unexpectedly — as our own Wil Dubois experienced and shared in his candid post about landing in the ER as a result.
ICYMI: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor lives with type 1 diabetes herself! She’s shared her story before and just recently wrote a new children’s book, which had her making the speaking circuit rounds talking about her life with T1D.
Eli Lilly launched a new half-priced version of Humalog known as “insulin lispro”; while the true availability remains in question (many believe it’s still not as affordable as it could be), this did mark a step forward in the multi-faceted Insulin Affordability and Access Crisis here in America.
We talked with former Tandem Diabetes Care CEO Kim Blickenstaff, who openly shared how close the insulin pump company actually came to going out of business a couple of years ago. (Their current comeback is incredible!)
Create your own Diabetes Avatar! XBox gamers and online folk alike were geeked out over this cool new feature created by one of our own in the diabetes community.
Our own Mike Hoskins spent eight hours “inside the lair” of diabetes startup Bigfoot Biomedical, getting an inside look at their future Automated Insulin Delivery (aka closed loop) technology in development.
For the first time ever, JDRF got a new CEO who lives with T1D himself. Longtime type 1 Dr. Aaron Kowalski took the helm of this big national diabetes advocacy org, and we had a sit-down interview with him.
The national Insulin Pricing Crisis got mainstream attention in 2019, with Congress addressing this topic head-on in multiple hearings that were (believe it or not!) full of movie and Game of Thrones references… Even Actor Victor Garber (who lives with T1D) shared thoughts on the issue. And btw, if you weren’t aware: Two current Congress members happen to have T1D themselves, and we got to chat with them both.
A Geek Squad for Diabetes Technology? Yep, that’s an idea that T1D Exchange is floating, and it has a ton of potential to help PWDs across the country.
Talking with star Viola Davis about her life with type 2 diabetes and acting career was a privilege, especially as we dug into the new diabetes documentary “A Touch of Sugar” that she participated in.
Sadly, so many are forced to leave the country to get access to affordable insulin due to the outrageous prices here in America. Mike was a part of two international visits this year, including a trip coordinated by Sen. Bernie Sanders as a part of his 2020 presidential campaign.
This year marked the 30th anniversary of the movie Steel Magnolias, which certainly hits a nerve for many in our Diabetes Community — even three decades later.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) rebranded itself with a new look and feel, going into the 2019 Scientific Sessions held in San Francisco — where the latest in diabetes research and technology are the highlight of this huge five-day conference.
In big tech news that no one saw coming, Medtronic Diabetes signed on to the future open-source Tidepool Loop project that will eventually allow different devices to work together and potentially operate in plug-n-play style. Everyone’s excited to see what comes next in choices of insulin pumps and CGMs that work together.
Country music star Eric Paslay who lives with type 1 started a new podcast and teamed up with Dexcom, and we talked with him about his music-centered life with T1D.
With June being Pride Month, we took a look at the sensitive and very nuanced issues that exist within the LGBTQ community for those who happen to be living with diabetes.
Eli Lilly snagged FDA approval for Baqsimi, a nasal emergency glucagon that you puff up your nose. This marks the first new form of emergency rescue glucagon in six decades — replacing the highly complicated and scary injection kits! We eventually got our hands on Baqsimi for a product review, too.
The amazing Children With Diabetes non-profit organization marked its milestone 20th Friends For Life conference in Orlando, and our ‘Mine team was honored to be part of that.
With the new Omnipod DASH platform finally making it to market, we were fascinated to feature this “first impressions” review of the newest iteration of the world’s only full-featured tubeless insulin patch pump.
What a joy to talk with Actress Mara Hill who lives with type 2 diabetes herself, and has held so many roles, including one on Grey’s Anatomy. We were grateful to chat with her about her personal diabetes story and struggles.
The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) went through its own big rebranding with a name change for those who work in this specialty. Aside from attending the annual conference and covering that news, we talked with the org’s new leader who gave us the scoop on her visions for the professionals now known as Diabetes Education and Care Specialists (DCES).
Diabetes complications can be quite scary, and Mike shared his recent experience in learning that his diabetic retinopathy had gotten worse, to the point of needing his first-ever laser eye treatment.
An Ohio D-Dad journeyed through all 50 states to play golf in each of those places in that same number of days, all in the name of raising awareness and money for the diabetes cause.
Following the lead of Lilly earlier in the year and responding to public pressure on pricing, Novo Nordisk announced its own half-priced insulin as an “authorized generic” form of Novolog.
The FDA OK’d the second new glucagon formulation this year: Xeris Pharmaceuticals ready-to-use Gvoke prefilled syringe. The company has now launched that, and plans to launch an auto-pen version in early 2020.
#Insulin4all advocates held a protest and vigil outside Eli Lilly’s Indianapolis headquarters in which advocate Nicole Smith-Holt from Minnesota — who lost her son Alec due to insulin rationing in 2017 — staged her own “arrest.” She stood in the middle of a heavily trafficked street corner reading a list of names of PWDs who’ve died as a direct or indirect result of high insulin prices.
It was great seeing professional tennis player JC Aragone, make it to the U.S. Open as one of the first people ever living on insulin to make it to that level of competitive tennis.
European regulators approved SugarBEAT, billed as “the world’s first non-invasive continuous glucose monitor.” We took a close look at the promises of this no-needles CGM solution.
We also explored Biolinq, a new CGM sensor just the size of a nickel, that will be inserted in the form of a quick press-on skin patch. It will use microarray technology for best-in-class accuracy, and house a microchip that will handle the measurements and connectivity.
Who says small voices can’t make an impact? We were thrilled to see that after a Colorado schoolgirl with type 1 diabetes wrote to Athleta Athletic wear about needing a shirt that would better fit her diabetes gear, the company responded — by actually introducing a diabetes-friendly sweatshirt!
November is of course National Diabetes Awareness Month, with tributes to insulin co-discoverer Dr. Frederick Banting and the Blue Circle, as the international symbol of diabetes.
We honored World Diabetes Day 2019 on Nov. 14, even as the governing organization IDF (International Diabetes Federation) seems to be falling apart at the seams.
Big news broke when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a policy change that will allow insulin-dependent diabetics to become commercial pilots, for the first time ever. The sky is no longer the limit!
On a more negative note, ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft have come under fire for discriminating against people with disabilities — especially diabetes.
We hosted our annual DiabetesMine Innovation Summit and D-Data ExChange technology events in San Francisco, now combined under the learning theme of “DiabetesMine University.” What an amazing gathering of experts and influencers! We were thrilled that this year’s event included the world’s first Closed Loop Systems Showcase.
After a server fail that caused a Dexcom outage over Thanksgiving weekend, the D-community was up in arms. In early December, we commented on what really needs fixing in that scenario.
We had exciting news with the FDA approval of Tandem’s Control-IQ system. This second-ever commercial closed system (after Medtronic’s 670G) combines Tandem’s touchscreen insulin pump with the popular Dexcom CGM and a smart algorithm that not only auto-adjusts basal rates for both high and low blood sugars, but also allows for automatic corrections for unexpected highs to get the user back in range.
Pharma giant Sanofi surprised some folks and disappointed many with the announcement that the company is stepping back from new diabetes research and product development.
On a happier note, Senseonics, makers of the new Eversense implantable CGM, snagged FDA approval for a “dosing claim,” meaning users are no longer required to do backup fingerstick glucose tests to make treatment decisions.
What about you, Dear Readers: Anything stand out to you in 2019 that’s worth highlighting? Let us know…
Also, we want to hear from you about how we’re doing in our endeavors to provide useful info and insights here at the ‘Mine. Your input is more than welcome, so please send us your comments via email or ping us on social media.