Some news (read: a lot of tweets and Facebook posts) came across my desk yesterday due to the announcement of the iLet, announced yesterday at the Friends for Life conference in Orlando.
Dr. Ed Damiano and the team in Boston (including Scott Scolnick, whom I met at the Diabetes UnConference) have been working on a bionic pancreas system for some time now. That development took a remarkably different turn with the push to develop a bi-hormonal system beginning, if I remember correctly, about two years ago. Since then, things have moved along quite a bit.
First is the unique nature of this technology, which will essentially have two pumps in one: One for insulin, one for glucagon. Seeing the announcement yesterday tells me that the team is confident enough in the liquid glucagon solution they’ll be using to make this a reality. So, while I obviously can’t predict it, don’t be surprised if some sort of liquid glucagon makes it to the market around the same time the bionic pancreas does. But I digress.
The other thing that’s new with the iLet is that it will have its own dedicated device to manage everything. We’ve known for some time that the finished device would not have the iPhone with it as a controller (remember?). Yesterday’s news confirms that. The device will include a 4.3 inch touch screen, with which the user will manage settings and boluses.
So… there’s an actual dual hormone pump… there’s a dedicated hand-held controller… and algorithms that will help the system pump insulin or glucagon in appropriate amounts every five minutes. Those algorithms have been and are being tested to make them as responsive as possible.
Now you may be asking: Where is it? When can I get my hands on this groundbreaking technology?
The good news is that Dr. Damiano and the team believe their devices will be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and be ready for the public by 2017, which is the time frame they’ve been shooting for for a while now.
There’s a lot to learn, and I certainly don’t know everything yet. Take a look at the pump and controller HERE (controller, in this case, may not be the optimal term, but I can’t think of another word yet). Exciting things are happening, and I realize I’m taking a lot of creative liberty to say it, but: