Tag Archives: #WeAreNotWaiting

#WeAreNotWaiting: Meet the iLet.

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:

#WeAreNotWaiting
 
 
 

Innovation is good. Innovation WORKS.

My co-workers and I were talking the other day about our recycling, and one of them mentioned that they now put out more recycling every week than they put out actual garbage. I’ve actually lived in places where a couple of decades ago, there were people arguing that recycling pickup wasn’t worth the cost to have it picked up on a regular basis. Now many of us are throwing out less than we’re recycling. Where would we be if we were still throwing everything away?

Just like when there was no such thing as recycling newspaper, plastic and glass bottles (heck, I can remember when all bottles were glass), cardboard, and metal, there was a time when performing a blood glucose check at home was a pipe dream. There was a time when an insulin pump (no injections? get out!) was something out of a sci-fi novel.

But lo and behold, over time, those devices not only became a reality, they’ve become a fixture in our diabetes lives. New things do get developed. New technology emerges. New therapies are perfected.

That’s why I get a little sad when I hear people say bad things about the artificial or bionic pancreas. It’s disheartening to hear someone dis remote monitoring of their CGM.

The reality is that these two ideas are coming to fruition at a rapid pace. We already know that artificial/bionic pancreas technology, when filtered through an appropriate algorithm, functions far better, with far less effort, in a safer way, than the average patient does on their own. Side note: Can I just refer to it as artificial/bionic pancreas now? Even now, after years of development and testing, this technology is changing further to include a bihormonal (insulin and glucagon) solution. Can you tell me you were thinking about that ten years ago?

And what about remote monitoring of your CGM? We know that Nightscout has already rolled out a solution that can allow parents to send their children to school or to sleepovers with a little less apprehension. Adults can use the CGM In The Cloud to keep their family members in the know, on a real-time basis. Was this on your list of cool diabetes ideas six or seven years ago?

I know it takes a long, long time for products to come to market. But I know that with the help of technology and some extremely smart cookies, new diabetes devices and software are going from concept to go live faster than ever before.

I know that there is still so much about diabetes that will remain dangerous, even after the latest innovations come to our doorstep. But I also know that fear of what still exists is not worth not taking steps to erase some or all of the fear of dangerous nighttime lows.

I know that a cure is still out of our grasp. But I also know that I am willing to live with incremental improvements in care and delivery systems until a cure becomes reality. And I am not willing to wait on everything until a cure is within reach.

I don’t believe I’ve ever written this before. But for the record, I am 1000 percent behind the #WeAreNotWaiting movement. Where last year there were only a few isolated pockets of innovation and collaboration in diabetes technology, there are now visible signs that collaboration and innovation are occurring and are at work right now. And that leaves me thinking that with the speed of technology, #WeAreNotWaiting will soon go from a fringe idea of faster implementation of new ideas, to an inventive steamroller that eventually leaves non-believers thinking #WeShouldn’tHaveWaited.

I was not prompted by anyone to write anything on this subject, but I was inspired by this blog post, and this one too.
 
 
 

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