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Technology Developments on Display at DiabetesMine Fall Summit

At the DiabetesMine Fall Innovation Summit, medical device manufacturers, patient entrepreneurs, and innovators gathered in San Francisco to display the latest developments in diabetes technology.

Each year, leaders in device manufacturing, clinicians, researchers, digital health experts, and entrepreneurs come together at the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit to discuss the latest developments in diabetes technology. Here, speakers cover everything from app development, to new “smart” devices and algorithms, to digital health tools.

On display at DiabetesMine were several “product demos”, where representatives from different companies discussed upcoming (or recently-cleared) technologies designed to make diabetes more manageable for those who live with it. This year’s Summit on November 18th showcased several new technologies, some of which are described below.

Bolus directly from your smartphone

In a video demonstration, Ben Mar, the associate director of product marketing at Tandem, displayed the recently-added feature that allows users of the company’s t:slim X2 insulin pump to administer a bolus directly from the smartphone app. The app, which is available on both iOS and Android smartphones, has a secure Bluetooth connection and requires the user to enter a passcode (or use Face ID) to deliver the dose. The mobile bolus feature was cleared by the FDA earlier in 2022 and is now available to all t:slim X2 pump users at no additional cost.

For the approximately 400,000 Tandem control-IQ users in the United States, this feature can make it easier to dose insulin around meals without direct access to the pump.

For more about this feature, read A Personal Take on Tandem's New t:connect Mobile App.

BluHale for Afrezza

The BluHale VIS is a device that clicks on to the Afrezza inhaler and connects to the BluHale smartphone app via Bluetooth (Afrezza is a rapid-acting insulin that users inhale from a single-use cartridge, rather than inject.)

The BluHale mobile app can integrate and display glucose measurements from a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), track Afrezza dosing, and display “inhalation quality”, or how effectively the user inhaled on the device for proper dosing. Users can also input meals, exercise data, and other insulin doses throughout the day; the app then generates  a report that users can share with their healthcare team.

One limitation is that there is a three-hour delay to integrate CGM data and “inhalation quality” into the app; researchers are working to address this issue. Although BluHale VIS is currently not available, MannKind, the manufacturer of Afrezza, will release the product in a limited launch early in 2023. Interested Afrezza users can watch the Afrezza website throughout December 2022, where MannKind will post a link to a sign up for the limited launch.

Tempo personalized diabetes management system

For those who prefer using pens to dose insulin instead of wearable devices, new digital systems can deliver some of the benefits of advanced technology to these people.

The Tempo platform from Eli Lilly includes a “smart button”, which clips on to the top of a pre-filled insulin pen and sends data to a smartphone app. In the app, users can see the type of insulin they took, the dose, brand of insulin, and amount of time since last dosing. For those who take multiple types of insulin (long-acting and mealtime, for instance), the app can track data from multiple smart buttons attached to different pens. Also, the system includes the Tempo Insights hub for clinicians, which allows users to share their data with their healthcare provider.

One of the main limitations of this system is that the smart button only works with Lilly insulin pens. Also, as a clinician at the Summit pointed out, the Tempo platform can be difficult for some  healthcare providers to learn and they may not want to use another separate digital platform to view glucose data during healthcare appointments.

Lilly announced the limited launch of the system in November 2022, targeting a full launch for early 2023. For more updates, visit the Tempo website.

One Health Sensor: innovations in CGM technology

The final demonstration came from One Drop founder and CEO Jeff Dachis, who discussed the company’s upcoming One Health Sensor. Unlike a traditional 10-day or 14-day CGM, this sensor is designed to be worn for 24 hours and is a needle-free patch that sits on the skin’s surface. It includes 25 “micro-sensors” that track substances in the blood such as ketones, blood alcohol, or blood oxygen, although Dachis mentioned that initially, the sensor will be launched to track glucose levels only. The sensor is also waterproof, has a 45-minute warm up time, and takes a glucose reading every minute.

Because of the design and 24-hour wear time, Dachis said that the sensor could have a similar cost as a traditional blood glucose monitor – less expensive than a traditional CGM, which could lead to much greater access to CGM technology. He also suggested that the sensor might be especially appealing for people with type 2 diabetes who want more flexibility in deciding when to wear a CGM or cannot access other CGM devices due to cost.

The device is currently still in development; One Drop plans to conduct a clinical trial in the second half of 2023, targeting FDA approval in 2024.

Looking Forward

These new systems are just a few of the many innovations in diabetes technology developed in the  last few years. While there is still work to be done to deliver these tools to the millions of people living with diabetes, researchers and device manufacturers are continually moving forward with new devices and technology to improve on what works best.