Top 10 New Product Highlights in the AADE 2018 Exhibit Hall
By Jeemin Kwon and Adam Brown
diaTribe was on the ground at the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) 2018 Conference in Baltimore to learn the latest from educators and other healthcare providers. The exhibit hall is always a treat to explore, so we’ve gone through and selected the ten highlights from this year’s exhibit hall!
Click to jump to a highlight:
Cauliflower pizza crust is delicious and low-carb, but it can be a hassle to make at home – cutting up a head of cauliflower, blending it, and baking it in the oven with eggs and cheese. (Plus, Adam has found the results are often a bit soggy, due to the moisture in the cauliflower.) We came across this premade cauliflower pizza crust that has two grams of carbs per serving. Importantly, everything on the ingredients list is pronounceable: cauliflower, mozzarella, eggs, and seasoning. They are currently priced at $12.99 for two 9-inch crusts. If you want to learn more, check out the company, Cali’flour Foods. You can use code ‘AADE’ to save 15% on your first order of $50 or more. (Editor’s note: We are not receiving any contributions from Cali’flour Foods to write this post. We just want to share more low-carb food options with our readers.)
Compared to continuous glucose monitors (CGM) like Dexcom’s G6 or Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre, the Eversense CGM has taken a different approach as a long-term implantable sensor: it’s placed under the skin on the upper arm, and stays there for 90 days (three months) in the US and 180 days (six months) in Europe. Senseonics just launched in the US following FDA approval in June. We got to see a demonstration of sensor implantation in the hall, and here are our takeaways:
The insertion procedure is simple and quick – it requires a small incision after the area is numbed with a local numbing agent (lidocaine).
The procedure does not involve stitches – the cut is held together by tiny adhesive strips.
The pill-sized sensor is very tiny and not visible under the skin.
The oval-shaped Bluetooth-enabled transmitter that rests on the skin is not too big (see right), and has the benefit of providing on-body vibration alerts when the phone is out of range.
For those frustrated with sensor insertions every 7-14 days, Eversense’s 90-day wear offers a welcome change! The current sensor still requires two fingerstick calibrations per day, but Senseonics will submit an application to FDA to reduce this to one calibration per day.
In Medtronic’s exhibit hall booth, we got a private first look at Inner Circle, a new CGM program that just launched for invited Guardian Connect and MiniMed 670G users. Inner Circle gives users monthly “points” for more time-in-range (70-180 mg/dl). Points can then be redeemed for health-related prizes, including exercise equipment, activity trackers, healthy eating, and active wear. Time-in-range is a monthly goal within Inner Circle, with points given for reaching different benchmarks: 400 points are given for 670G users that reach 70%-79% time-in-range, 600 points for 80-89% time-in-range, and 800 points for over 90% time-in-range. For Guardian Connect CGM users, the goal tiers are ten-percentage points lower at each respective point level: 60-69%, 70-79%, and over 80%. We didn’t get to see all of the specific prizes and associated point values, though some look cool: the “fitness equipment” button showed a treadmill in the background! Will points and prizes motivate CGM users to achieve more time-in-range?
Sanofi and Lexicon took a stand supporting the Beyond A1C movement, an ever-growing push to recognize that A1C – a three-month average of blood sugar levels – isn’t enough to capture the day-to-day of living with diabetes.
Time-in-range, emotional wellbeing, and other balancing acts people with diabetes perform every day are equally as important measures of diabetes management.
As one person with diabetes put it, “I can go weeks within range and then have 5 days of uncontrollable highs that distort the result and hence the effort.” Another described managing diabetes as, “the game of ‘Life’! The busyness of Life combined with a disease that demands SO much of my mental energy and time.” The companies have submitted their drug, sotagliflozin to the FDA for type 1 diabetes, a once-daily pill (SGLT 1/2 inhibitor) that improves time-in-range on top of insulin. Read about the FDA submission here, and more about Beyond A1C here.
mySugr’s bright green booth showed off the company’s bundle with unlimited strips, a glucose meter, and diabetes coaching for $39.99/month. The glossy bright green box (“made with love”) includes the very accurate Accu-Chek Guide glucose meter, 250 Accu-Chek Guide strips, and lancets. Users can sign up here, and strips are shipped automatically without requiring prescriptions or insurance hassles. Similarly, the nearby Roche booth included a section devoted to its SimplePay Savings program, which offers a vial of 50 strips for just $19.99 cash pay (no insurance), and each incremental 50 strips for just $10. The Accu-Chek website now has a “Home Delivery” option – offering a lower-hassle alternative to going to the pharmacy.
A free app by BD (manufacturer of pen needles), Briight is designed to help people with diabetes learn and log data. It is filled with educational content surrounding insulin injections, health insurance (including articles from diaTribe’s own access series), physical activity, and recipes. Users can also manually log blood glucose data and general carb intake for the day. We played around with the Briight chat bot, which lets you ask free-form questions like, “How many carbs are in an apple” or put in commands like, “generate a report for my doctor’s visit.” The app is integrated with Calorie King, but cannot answer more complicated nutrition questions yet. We got the sense that they are eager to hear feedback about the app and hear from people with diabetes and healthcare providers on how to make the app even more useful. Briight is available at the Apple App store and the Google Play store.
Following FDA approval in June, Tandem’s Basal-IQ predictive low glucose suspend (PLGS) system has launched for people six and older. Using Dexcom G6 CGM readings and the t:slim X2 pump, the new PLGS algorithm stops basal insulin delivery when low blood sugar is predicted (within 30 minutes) and resumes insulin delivery once blood sugar levels start to rise – all without alarms. Current t:slim X2 users can upgrade for free with a home software update (emails are being sent this month) – the first Basal-IQ software update on a t:slim X2 was completed in four minutes at home. This represents the first automated insulin delivery system that works without needing fingerstick calibrations for the CGM.
Tandem’s Control-IQ hybrid closed loop pivotal study (with automatic boluses) is also underway – see our trial watch – targeted for a summer 2019 launch.
There are several groups developing ways to make tracking insulin doses easier for those who are on injections instead of an insulin pump – Common Sensing, Companion Medical, Bigfoot Biomedical, Lilly, Novo Nordisk and others. At the exhibit hall we saw a demo of the Common Sensing Gocap, which is a reusable smart cap that fits over Lantus (long-acting basal insulin) and Apidra (mealtime insulin) pens. Gocaps will become compatible with Novolog pens in October, and hopefully Lilly’s Basaglar and Humalog pens in 2019.
The Gocap captures insulin dose amount, time, units remaining in the pen, and even insulin temperature, all sent via Bluetooth to a nearby smartphone app. The app, however, does not have a mealtime insulin bolus calculator. Gocap is currently available through a Beta program – click here to see if you qualify.
The diabetes app One Drop and smart pen manufacturer Companion Medical announced a partnership during AADE that should make consolidating diabetes data easier for injection users. Companion Medical will now begin shipping a free One Drop Chrome Bluetooth-enabled glucose meter with every eligible Bluetooth-enabled InPen in the US. These two apps will seamlessly exchange information with each other using Apple Health, meaning One Drop will receive mealtime insulin data (from InPen) and Companion will receive blood glucose data (from the meter) – no manual entry required! This will make it easier for One Drop’s coaches to have more data on how people are doing.
Non-profit Tidepool now supports diabetes data upload from Medtronic’s MiniMed 630G, 640G, and 670G pumps, giving users another option besides Medtronic’s CareLink for viewing and understanding their diabetes data. The easy-to-read web-based data display is excellent, providing time in Auto Mode/Manual Mode, time-in-range, and average blood glucose, in addition to users’ CGM data, insulin bolus and carb data, and insulin basal rates. To upload, users connect their Ascensia Contour Next Link 2.4 meter via a computer USB port. Tidepool’s blog post also emphasizes the ability for Medtronic users to contribute to the Big Data Donation Project, which shares 10% of the proceeds from the project with a slew of diabetes nonprofits (including The diaTribe Foundation).