Artificial Pancrease Developed, Could Help Children With Type 1 Diabetes

Called the MiniMed 670G, the device was developed by Medtronic in Minnesota. It received Food and Drug Administration approval for medical use last year and is now entering the market. The MiniMed replaces some pancreatic function in type 1 diabetes, the version of diabetes in which the pancreas no longer produces enough insulin for the body. Medtronic is targeting children with the disease as a way to improve life outcomes.

Most specifically, the MiniMed device can allow diabetic children to sleep through the night without blood tests and to go through most of their day without monitoring. Most diabetic attacks in children happen because of a lapse in monitoring or introduction of unusual foods.

Checking glucose levels every five minutes.

The MiniMed is like many diabetic pumps, worn on the waist or abdomen, but has a small underskin probe that monitors blood glucose levels. The pump then injects insulin as needed to keep glucose levels at the right point.

The MiniMed has been approved and used for adults for several months, but is now ready for pediatric patients as well. The device will helps parents more easily track and care for their type 1 diabetic children.

Current prescriptions for the device in children is "off label" as the FDA approval has only been for teens ages 14 and older as well as adults. The FDA allows the off-label prescriptions, though that may mean that insurance coverage will vary. The cost for the unit is between $6,000 and $8,000 plus the insulin refills and periodic probe replacements.

Source: NewsDay.com

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