Class of 2006: Pumps and Monitors for Diabetics
Reprinted with permission from Amy Tenderich of www.diabetesmine.com.
As you know, I'm focused on insulin-related gadgets and "life-changers." Here's a roundup of what's (more or less) new and certainly exciting:
* DexCom Wireless Continuous Monitor -- seemed a bit like the "coming out party" for the company's first-ever wireless continuous glucose monitor. Seeing it up close and personal, I was more impressed than ever with the tiny sensor worn on the tummy. And Kelly was right, their marketing WAS incredible: a huge screen showing fast-motion scenes of real people, running around doing everyday things, untethered. I met a number of people wearing the unit, and raving about it. The Professional Software is available to physicians already, and the Patient Software package is on its way soon. The current product sports a 3-day sensor, but the company is already conducting patient trials with a 7-day sensor version.
* OmniPod Tubeless Insulin Pump -- again, felt like a debutante ball for this first-ever tubeless insulin management system (a pump without strings). Lots of hustle and bustle around their booth, where many doctors seemed to be learning about the OmniPod for the first time. I tried to sign up again, but was shooed away by my good friends in marketing; they still don't have coverage on the West Coast. *sigh*
* Non-Invasive Glucose Monitors -- who will be first to bring one to market? Highlights were research results on four models: the OrSense, which uses red near infrared occlusion spectoroscopy technology (scanning your eyes) to collect data every 10-15 minutes. Next, the HypoMon from Hypomon AiMedics consists of a chest-belt transmitter that measures "physiological parameters" and a hand-held receiver unit that will even provide A1c readings. Then the OneLook from Lein Applied Diagnostics, which also measures BG by scanning your eye, with a low-power light. And finally the Aprise from Glucon, which uses a receptor worn on the skin to reading intravascular glucose levels. All very futuristic, but all showing promising results in early studies.
* Lilly HumaPen Memior -- a brand new "smart" insulin pen coming to market this Fall that is digitalized with a date and time stamp and memory that stores info on up to 16 doses. The idea is that you can look back at your recent activity, and also eventually download the data from the pen (software coming in Phase 2). It's also the first pen I've seen that does not appear to be either plastic or metallic. Rather, it's dark burgundy with silver trim that looks like a slightly chunky executive-writing pen from say, Hewlett-Packard, complete with an equally sleek-looking case. Additional colors are in the works as well, I understand.
* Insulfon Injection Port - for easing the pain of shots for youngsters. This amazing new gizmo is a tiny plastic cannula, inserted just under the skin, normally used for cancer chemo patients. For children with diabetes, the comforable "port" is inserted using a numbing cream, and can be left in for up to three days. Then parents can give injections through this tiny receptor, and children never feel a shot. Early studies show a 0.93% decrease in A1c levels of kids using it. This one's still under study, I believe.
* FreeStyle Navigator CGMS -- the continuous monitor system from Abbott Diabetes that's still awaiting FDA approval is looking much better this year, at least from a form-factor standpoint. They've revamped the receiver unit from a clunky black box into a more modular chrome design. The only surprise is that the sensor unit is still quite a chunk, especially compared to DexCom's. It's about half the size of the OmniPod's insulin pod, in fact, which is strange considering it carries no insulin reservoire but only the tiny glucose-monitoring sensor.
* MiniMed Paradigm REAL-Time System -- the world's first combo system of an insulin pump and continuous monitor was making a pretty big splash as well. On second look for me, the sensor seemed less obtrusive somehow. It's pretty small, and hangs off a wire connected to the pump, so you do have twin infusion sites. When the rep asked me how Ifelt about wearing one, I told her I was waiting for the single-infusion-site model, and she just nodded her head. Meanwhile, the system is available in Canada (innocuous answer on why it went live there first), and should be shipping in the US soon.
* Exubera Inhaled Insulin -- despite an extremely flashy showing at the conference (giant "ampitheather" with live host doing demos), I think the inhaler device -- which looks decidedly like a medicinal bong -- is a bomb, at least from an aesthetic standpoint. Stay tuned for upcoming post on this one.
* Stylish New Monitors -- a few new "traditional" glucose monitors that are looking good include the FreeStyle Freedom, next-gen of their flagship monitor. This one is bigger than the Flash, but is still a small and handy shape and sports large, easy-to-read numbers, along with all the alarm options and best features of Abbott's other meters. The new AgaMatrix co-branded with Liberty Medical is a little rectangle model with easy-grip rubber sides. It also has large numbers and ultra-easy buttons made simple for older or visually challenged patients. I want one, too, in part because David Kliff of Diabetic Investor gave it such a strong endorsement: he says the front-loading test strips with excellent speed and absorption make it one of the best monitors yet. A nice-looking "me too" rectangle model from Germany is the SmartLAB Genius meter, with a lifetime warranty.
Oh-so-much-more conference coverage to come.
Published On: June 12, 2006