So the Medtronic 530G and Enlite sensor are here, featuring a new pump and a new CGM (continuous glucose monitor) that talk to each other, with a never-before-available-to-the-public Low Glucose Suspend (LGS) feature. Essentially, when your CGM hits a pre-determined threshold, the new Med-T pump will suspend itself for two hours (or less, if you’ve recovered from a hypo event before the two hours are up).
This is a super development. It’s great that advances in glucose monitoring and insulin delivery and interaction between the two are making their way to the market.
Being the inquisitive sort, after I got excited about the news, I started asking myself questions. Five came to mind in about ten minutes. I don’t have answers to these questions. Maybe no one does. But since it’s my blog, I thought I would ask them here.
A couple of my questions came after reading a fine piece on the 530G at Diabetes Mine. They interviewed company officials and provided some information that I’ll be referencing here. If you’d like, feel free to read their story, then come back here.
Now, the questions:
1. Who gets priority when the orders start coming in?
Will it be new Medtronic customers? Replacements? Upgrades? Influence-peddlers (bloggers, diabetes organization muckety-mucks, etc.)? In all honesty, this is kind of a non-starter for me, because a)There’s really no way for me to find out, and b)The supply will probably outstrip the demand for the product within the first year anyway. By then, we’ll forget how bad some folks wanted it right now back in October 2013.
2. In replacement/upgrade scenarios, what happens to used pumps?
I could (and should) have asked this long ago, but what happens to the old pumps? If the 530G is the greatest system out there, I certainly would like to upgrade. But if someone can’t do that, either because of cost or other factors, I would feel great knowing my Revel™ pump is still going strong, working its magic for another patient. Is that even possible? If not, will the pump’s material be recycled somehow? How does this work today?
3. New users of the 530G will work with a trainer, like they do when starting on other Minimed pumps. What kind of education will 530G users get?
I ask this question because while I was trained, I was not educated about insulin pumps and pump therapy in general before starting on my pump. I was good at getting my A1c down, but there was still a lot I didn’t know. Thanks to my fantastic endocrinologist, I was able to get up to speed pretty quickly. Still, I did not know what insulin on board meant until I read about it online. So theoretically, I could have had the 530G, stacked my boluses up to the ceiling one evening, had the threshold suspend feature kick in on my pump, and still had plenty more insulin acting in my system for a while. Without knowing what was happening to me or why.
I don’t want a new user of the 530G to find out about IOB the hard way like I did.
4. The Diabetes Mine piece mentions that the 530G will not communicate with Medtronic’s MySentry remote monitoring system because the FDA didn’t clear it to communicate wirelessly. Isn’t the CGM communicating wirelessly already? And why do they need FDA approval for something like that?
I remember being at the JDRF Research Summit in Bethesda, Maryland back in March. People working on artificial pancreas technology at the University of Virginia’s Center for Diabetes Technology presented, and among the things they revealed was a remote monitoring feature. Parents in attendance were super-interested in this, and they asked the presenters about whether something like that might be available soon. I remember the UVA presenters said that they didn’t anticipate rolling out the remote monitoring ahead of any device they might be working on. But they also said that they didn’t believe something like that needed FDA approval, because it wasn’t doing anything medical. It was just reflecting what was already going on with the AP system, and the remote monitoring itself wasn’t being used to make any medical decisions for patients.
And like I said above, the Enlite CGM will be communicating wirelessly with the pump already. Shouldn’t be too hard to get it to talk to the MySentry too.
5. Finally: What’s all this artificial pancreas posturing about?
You knew I would ask this, right? This is a little touchy for me. Rhonda at FifteenWaitFifteen wrote about being uncomfortable about this too. Medtronic, and by extension now, many in the media, are using the term “Artificial Pancreas” when referring to this system. The LGS feature in this system is very AP-like. But after seeing numerous talks about artificial pancreas technology, from more than one source in the past year and a half, I can tell you that the 530G is not an artificial pancreas device in the way I think of one.
Last time I checked, no one copyrighted the term “artificial pancreas”, so Med-T is within their rights to tout it as an AP device if they want to. But I worry about two things: First, will using the term with this device, which doesn’t have all of the features of artificial pancreas technology, cause non-D friends, family, and co-workers to think this is the holy grail, and now we shouldn’t have any trouble with our diabetes from here on out? Second, will using the term “artificial pancreas” like this eventually dilute the term for all of us, to the point where just a CGM that talks to a pump will be considered an AP device? We’re just now making big strides in technology that will benefit many with diabetes. When an outfit uses the term “artificial pancreas”, I don’t want it to be less than I’ve been led to believe it will be. Just my two cents. Feel free to disagree.
Full disclosure: Okay, half disclosure. I have a particular interest in this topic, especially right now, and I recognize that this may skew my viewpoint. More about that next week.
So those are my five (plus) questions on the Minimed 530G with Enlite. As with almost everything, time will probably provide the answers. Do you have any questions of your own? Have any answers for mine?