Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) is moving closer to developing an "artificial pancreas" to regulate blood-sugar levels in diabetics with a new clinical trial of its integrated insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring system.
Fridley, Minn.-based Medtronic said it launched an investigational device exemption trial to evaluate the safety of its predictive low glucose management system in 84 patients.
The system is designed to automatically stop insulin delivery when it senses glucose levels approaching the lowest tolerable level, and then resuming delivery after those levels recover, according to a press release.
Medtronic said the technology is designed to help people with diabetes better manage the challenges of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and "rebound" hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, that are inherent in external insulin therapy.
Medtronic already markets a system that can automatically suspend insulin delivery when glucose levels reach a preset point and the patient fails to respond to an alarm. The company said the PLGM device takes that interaction a step further, by automatically stopping insulin delivery when glucose levels are predicted to reach a low limit, and then resuming once those levels recover.
The company’s ultimate goal is to develop an automated artificial pancreas – a system that would automatically adjust insulin levels based on glucose levels with very little interaction from the patient.Medtronic’s diabetes sales increased 12% during its fiscal 1st quarter, to $416 million, due in part to the launch of the MiniMed 530G insulin pump and accompanying Enlite sensor.