The FDA recently approved a new artificial pancreas system from Tandem Diabetes called Control-IQ. Its unique algorithm was developed by researchers at the University of Virginia Center for Diabetes Technology; the algorithm adjusts insulin doses automatically based on blood glucose readings. The Center continues to work on future generations of this system as well as technology that will help people manage type 2 diabetes.
FDA approves Control-IQ after trial
The FDA approval was based on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that the new system worked better at controlling blood glucose levels than treatments that currently exist. The trial compared users of the artificial pancreas system with users of sensor-augmented pump (SAP) therapy with a CGM and insulin pump.
Over time, the users of the artificial pancreas system had better blood glucose control during the day as well as at night. They also had lower risk for experiencing dangerous blood sugar highs and lows.
The Tandem Diabetes Control-IQ system consists of a Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor, an insulin pump, and a glucose meter. The new system should be available for patients to use this month.
The artificial pancreas and type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes happens when the pancreas fails to produce the appropriate amount of insulin, a hormone needed to convert food into energy. An artificial pancreas works by constantly monitoring blood sugar with a continuous glucose monitor alongside an insulin pump that processes data to deliver the perfect amount of insulin.
The benefit of an artificial pancreas system is to eliminate the need for constant finger pricks and insulin injections for those with type 1 diabetes. It works in a closed-loop system, meaning the devices communicate with one another and there is little need for human intervention. The idea is to mimic the way a healthy pancreas would work.
Who can benefit from it
This technology is especially promising for parents of children with type 1 diabetes who fear dangerous middle-of-the-night blood sugar drops that could result in a coma or hospitalization if left untreated. However, those with type 1 diabetes only account for 10 percent of people afflicted with diabetes. The other 90 percent consists of those with type 2 diabetes who will not be able to benefit from this technology just yet, although researchers at UVA and elsewhere are working to make this a reality for everyone with diabetes.