In recent years, new technologies have appeared on the market for continuous measurement of sugar levels, sensors embedded under the skin or glued to it, and many other innovations that make diabetes control as easy as possible. Here we want to introduce you to the main companies that have developed or are developing devices such as artificial pancreas or other solutions that can turn diabetes into a disease whose treatment does not require any significant effort.
This American company, one of the market leaders in diabetes treatment systems, has been creating technologies for continuous measurement of sugar levels since 1999. The company began its work in this field by creating an implantable sensor that will not be rejected by the body and that will work for a long time.
Its newest system, Dexcom G6, does not require finger pricks or blood tests, and was approved by the US healthcare industry regulator FDA in March 2018. Like other continuous glucose monitoring systems, it allows diabetic patients to see blood sugar levels at any time using a sensor that is inserted under the skin. Recently, the company has partnered with Apple to connect the Apple Watch to its continuous blood sugar monitoring sensor.
It is a system that can integrate with other compatible medical devices and electronic interfaces, such as an automated insulin dosing system, an insulin pump, glucose meters and other electronic devices used in the treatment of diabetes.
Dexcom G6 is a small device that the user uses the supplied device to stick as a plaster on his stomach. It contains a sensor that continuously measures the level of sugar in the interstitial fluid and transmits sugar level data to the application on the user’s smartphone every five minutes.
The system sends a warning to the user if the blood sugar level becomes too high or low. At the same time, G6 can be integrated with an automatic insulin dosing system and when the sugar level exceeds the limits of the permissible range, the system can issue a command to enter the medicine.
Today Medtronic is the world’s largest medical technology company with more than 260 branches in 155 countries. Founded in 1949, over the years the company has been developing pacemakers, implantable mechanical devices, devices for delivering drugs and biological preparations to the body, as well as powerful modern surgical instruments. Today, its products are used to treat almost 40 diseases.
Thanks to its latest hybrid closed-loop system, the company is one step closer to creating its own artificial pancreas. The MiniMed 670G system, the first hybrid closed-loop system, constantly monitors blood sugar levels and automatically issues insulin, but patients still have to self-administer a dose of bolus insulin (insulin usually taken with meals) depending on what you eat, as well as “inform” him when they start exercising, which reduces sugar levels.
MiniMed 670G is intended for type 1 diabetics aged 7 and over and already has official sales approval from European and American regulatory authorities.
The Medtronic system includes a Guardian Sensor 3 sensor the size of a regular coin with a micro-needle that is inserted under the skin and provides continuous monitoring of sugar levels. In its place on the human body, it is held by means of a sticky substrate. The second component of the system is an insulin pump, most often worn on the side of the abdomen, which has a tube connected to a catheter for injecting insulin into the body. The MiniMed 670G measures the sugar level every 5 minutes and automatically injects insulin to the patient if necessary.
Abbott was founded in 1888 in the USA. The company offers blood and glucose monitoring systems, including test strips, sensors, data management decision-making software and accessories for people with diabetes.
For example, Abbott has released the FreeStyle Libre wireless monitor, a new class of sugar monitoring devices using proprietary technology. The user attaches a sensor to the upper arm that measures the level of sugar in the interstitial fluid. In October 2018, Abbott certified in Europe its new Freestyle Libre 2 device with Bluetooth and customizable warning signals.
It consists of a waterproof sensor that attaches to the back of the forearm and a smartphone-like device that reads and displays sensor readings. The sensor measures the sugar level in the interstitial fluid every minute, using a thin needle with a length of 5 mm and a width of 0.4 mm, which penetrates the skin. Data is read in 1 second. The history of all measurements is stored in the reader, here you can set the permissible range and type of alerts. Moreover, although this device is important for monitoring sugar levels, the sensor can work without it and will vibrate or make a sound (at the user’s choice) when blood sugar levels differ from normal.
The Danish company Novo Nordisk was founded in 1923 and has been operating in 79 countries since then. She has accumulated a unique experience in the treatment and care of diabetic patients. Recently, the company announced the creation of a reusable NovoPen 6 insulin pen, which is capable of storing and downloading up to 800 records of device usage data (for a period of about 3 months) and connecting to several external diabetes monitoring systems to help better cope with this disease.
With these injectors, the company hopes to help patients get more complete glycemic control by connecting them to a smartphone. Now insulin pens will be able to send data to the phone and integrate with platforms that control diabetes treatment through it.
Novo Nordisk has promised to launch its new product on sale in early 2020. As soon as these “smart” insulin pens become available, they will be compatible with both Android and iOS devices. By this time, by the way, the Guardian Connect system of Medtronic will also be updated to integrate its data with these Novo Nordisk smart pens.
The company also stated that it plans to provide network connectivity for its disposable pre-filled injection pens in 2019, and in the long term, it intends to increase the availability of connected pens and offer solutions using customized treatment guidelines.
The American company Insulet, founded in 2000, develops and manufactures an infusion system for people with insulin-dependent diabetes, mainly in the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe.
The company offers the OmniPod Insulin Management System (OmniPod Insulin Management System), which consists of a disposable infusion device (insulin pump) and a portable wireless personal monitoring device that connects to the pump via Bluetooth, and is an alternative to traditional methods of insulin delivery. It is a closed-loop hybrid system with a built-in predictive analysis model algorithm for calculating the dosage for each individual patient. It can be used together with basal (designed to ensure the normal functioning of the body) and bolus insulin (to compensate for the food consumed). Thanks to its simple and convenient design, the disposable unit provides up to three days of continuous insulin delivery.
The user can also connect his Omnipod system to the Omnipod Display or Omnipod View mobile applications. These apps are designed to allow users and their doctors to track the progress of insulin therapy, especially important when the device is used by a child.
This French company was founded in 2015, and its stated mission is to create affordable technological innovations that will allow people with type 1 diabetes to live the way they want. Diabeloop develops revolutionary technological innovations for automating diabetes treatment.
The DBLG1 system uses data obtained using a continuous blood sugar monitor and “smart” algorithms to determine the dosage of insulin and activate the insulin pump. At the same time, the device can predict sugar levels based on its constant learning ability, which gradually adjusts to the characteristics and physiology of each individual patient. The algorithm also takes into account the information obtained from the patient’s medical history in its work. In addition, the system is able to prevent both events associated with a decrease in sugar levels (hypoglycemia) and events related to an increase in blood sugar concentration above the permissible limit (hyperglycemia).
The system already has a permit for use in Europe.
The American company has declared its mission to reverse type 2 diabetes in 100 million people by 2025. Its goal is to do this safely, reliably and without the risk or side effects that often appear when using medications or surgical interventions.
According to the company, 94% of insulin-dependent patients using the Virta Health technique significantly reduce the use of insulin after a year, or get rid of it altogether. And among type 2 diabetics who receive Virta Health treatment, 60% of diabetes reverses after a year (meaning % of patients with HbA1c less than 6.5% who do not take glycemic control drugs or take only metformin).
A biotech company based in the UK offers a non-invasive solution based on the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) system of SugarBEAT.
The CGM system kit includes a one-day disposable patch on the skin, a sensor glued on top of it, as well as a corresponding smartphone application or a separate reader. The patch is glued to the skin completely painlessly, and you can stick it to the forearm, leg or stomach. The only inconvenience is that it requires calibration with a finger prick. Measurements are taken every five minutes, after which the data is transmitted via Bluetooth to an application on a smartphone or to a reader. Sugar level measurements are carried out in interstitial fluid.
The company plans to submit its device to the FDA for approval for use this year.
The New York-based company One Drop, founded in 2015, offers an application for the treatment of diabetes, which helps diabetic patients keep a log of insulin levels, the effectiveness of medications they take, the food they have recently consumed and the types of activity that affect their blood sugar levels daily. The app also has the ability to share your data and communicate in the community for diabetics to get the necessary advice. This software product has convenient analytics tools that allow you to view statistics for different time periods.
The diabetes management platform harnesses the power of mobile computing and data science by providing personalized insights and recommendations based on the user’s health profile and blood glucose data.
The function of predicting blood sugar levels and automatic decision support has been introduced into the functionality of the application. According to the developers, these functions, working on the basis of a machine learning algorithm, provide the ability to predict sugar levels 12 hours before the event and offer behavioral recommendations based on these predictions.
The company, which was also founded in 2015, operates in India and develops solutions that allow people to control diabetes. BeatO is a mobile platform that motivates diabetics to increase their adherence to treatment and reduce their own costs. In addition to the app, the company also offers glucose meters, test strips, medical supplements and diabetes counseling. Their intelligent blood glucose meter is essentially an addition to a smartphone, providing ease of use and a relatively low price for users.
As with One Drop, BeatO also has a team of doctors to support Type 1 and type 2 diabetics with hands-on knowledge about diabetes and its treatment in real life.