FDA approves artificial pancreas system for diabetics - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

FDA approves artificial pancreas system for diabetics

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Friday's FDA approval of the latest insulin pump from Medtronic is being described as first-generation artificial pancreas system.

It's already in extreme demand from diabetics nationally and in Las Vegas.

"People have been calling our office in tears saying please submit my paperwork," said Dr. Asheesh Dewan of The Pediatric Endocrine & Diabetes Specialists in Las Vegas.

The MiniMed 530G with Enlite aims to eliminate low blood sugar episodes by essentially predicting the future.

"Before you get low the pump will (know) you're on your way to low, [and] predict you're going to be low in this much time," said Dewan.

The device then stops pumping insulin for a period of two hours. Hypoglycemia is one of the most fearful and dangerous complications of being a diabetic.

"My blood sugar dropped to 29 and I didn't feel it coming until I was too low to notice," said Type-1 diabetic Mollie Singer, describing an episode when she was rushed to the hospital at 10 years old.

Fear of another such incident runs her life.

"I test 10 to 15 times a day. When I wake up, before I eat breakfast, after I eat breakfast, before I eat anything basically," said Singer.

The new device is life-changing for the singer/songwriter and diabetes advocate.

"I won't have to live with that fear of waking up low, or not being able to wake up," said Singer.

The pump is only half the loop; it does not adjust for high blood sugar levels.

Medtronic will continue to develop that technology, but with diabetes cases increasing by 20 percent each year, any step is a positive one.

"Preventive medicine and preventing problems and complications is very cost effective for society in general," said Dewan.

The system has already been used in Europe for two years, but will be made available in the U.S. in early October.

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