Future of Diabetes Treatment
Diabetes care has come a long way in just a few decades—after all, the first insulin pump was introduced in 1963, and fingerprick tests for personal blood glucose monitoring have only been around since the mid-1980s. So what's next?
In development: Automating insulin delivery—the artificial pancreas
Taking insulin pumping to the next level, an artificial pancreas is being tested that combines a continuous glucose monitor, insulin pump and glucagon pump (should blood glucose go too low), all managed by an app on a smartphone. The goal is to monitor your blood glucose and adjust your insulin throughout the day; products that do more so you can think less about diabetes care. (link to http://sites.bu.edu/bionicpancreas/ or local information)
Much smaller and more contained (and unlikely to be ready for many years), a patch that senses blood glucose levels and delivers insulin automatically is also in the works.1
Now: Connecting with your blood glucose—and your doctor
New ways to track blood glucose data and connect with your healthcare team can greatly simplify diabetes control. Smartphone apps and Web sites offer a variety of ways to streamline data management, however, researchers in Norway found that the greatest potential lies in a few key features:2
- Seamless data transfer from the meter to the app eliminates the need for manual entry and reduces the risk of human error
- Automatic data sharing with a parent or caregiver helps adults guide children as they manage blood glucose away from home
- Diaries that integrate with electronic health records aid discussions at doctors' appointments
(if appropriate for market)
In fact, the Accu-Chek Connect system offers many of these features, including data management tools, a proven bolus advisor3 for accurately calculating mealtime insulin and the ability to save photos of meals to support carb counting discussions with your healthcare provider. (link to local product page)
There's even more on the horizon.
Ideas are in development to sense acetone in the body, a biomarker associated with blood glucose.
- Engineers at the University of Michigan in the United States are testing a wearable vapor sensor that can "smell" high blood gluose
1A1C Levels in Poorly Controlled, Noninsulin-Treated Type 2 Diabetes Results from the Structured Testing Program study.” Diabetes Care, 34.2 (2011): 262-267.
24Futurity. Wearable vapor sensor can "smell" diabetes. Available at: http://www.futurity.org/wearable-vapor-sensor-diabetes-743642/. Accessed July 1, 2015.
3Nano. A nanotechnology diabetes "breathalyzer.". Available at: https://nano-magazine.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2220:a-nanotechnology-diabetes-breathalyzer&catid=38&Itemid=159. Accessed July 1, 2015.
4Diabetes NSW. Temporary glucose-reading tattoo could replace needles. Available at: http://diabetesnsw.com.au/temporary-glucose-reading-tattoo-could-replace-needles/. Accessed July 1, 2015.