The media has been shouting for a while now about the new “artificial pancreas” on the market. This is driving me crazy. It is not an artificial pancreas. It is a new insulin pump. This new pump has some automated features but it does not completely replace a pancreas that is not producing insulin. It does not bolus for food on its own. It is not a cure. What this new device is is a new device! It is another tool to help people living with diabetes live a better life. That is it!
Medtronic® does not call their latest insulin pump an artificial pancreas. They simply refer to it as “The world’s first self-adjusting insulin pump system for people with type 1 diabetes” (over 7 years of age). That is fair.
This is great! I am seriously all for better tools. I am also all for choice as you can read here and here. I even have developed a tool to help you make your own choices when it comes to purchasing an insulin pump here.
In the US, besides the Medtronic® 670G, you have the option to use the t
It predicts low blood glucose levels ahead of time and stops insulin delivery. The Basal IQ™ technology will allow the insulin pump to turn insulin delivery on and off as often as every 5 minutes. As I noted, this system works with the Dexcom® G6 Continuous Glucose Monitor which is currently the only CGM approved for use without the need for fingerstick calibration.
The world of diabetes management tools is once again expanding at a fascinating rate. It is an exciting time.
We are not however at a time when diabetes is cured with an artificial pancreas. No system counts carbs—although the ILet potentially will allow the pump to learn how. Every system requires you to change out infusion sets that can kink or come out of the body. All of these systems require learning on the part of the user and the machine.
Perhaps in another 20 years, we will see a true artificial pancreas. Maybe in another 30 years, it will be available to everyone who needs one. In the meantime, people with diabetes must continue to educate themselves on the various features of insulin pumps and choose the pump that best fits their lifestyle.