In December, the FDA approved a system that includes an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device. This has provides the advantage of getting blood glucose levels throughout the day and night, providing more accurate control and insulin dosages.
The system uses the Animas Vibe insulin pump that connects wirelessly to a Dexcom CGM sensor. The sensor is placed on the abdomen, with a probe that can be worn for up to 7 days at a time. The sensor and pump are water resistant at depths of 8 feet, so the system can be worn in the shower or while swimming. The system makes it more convenient for a patient to manage glucose levels, but the FDA stopped short of approving it as a closed-loop system. The sensor’s results cannot automatically adjust the pump’s insulin dosage; instead, the patient must verify the blood glucose readings with a traditional finger-stick measurement, and then make any dosage adjustments manually.
This may be half a loaf for diabetes patients who want to get more automatic control of their insulin dosage, but it’s a start. Perhaps the results from this system in the field will help the FDA decide that a more automated system is worthy of approval.