Thursday, October 13, 2011

Know a Diabetic? Help Them (Us!) by Supporting the Artificial Pancreas Campaign

Type 1 diabetes sucks, plain and simple. I won’t bother you with more details than that. Just take my word for it, T1D sucks—and my situation is relatively stable and very controllable compared to many other diabetics I know. Plus, I got my T1 when I was well in to middle age rather than at a very young age. If you’re interested in learning more, then hit any one of the many solid websites on the topic.

What I will bother you with is a request that you help try to sway the Food and Drug Administration’s opinion on speeding up progress around development of an artificial pancreas. (The pancreas produces the body’s insulin – it’s the organ that goes haywire for us diabetics.)

The Low Glucose Suspend (LGS) insulin pump, a precursor to an artificial pancreas, is currently in use in over 40 countries, including Canada, England, France, and Germany. Unfortunately, the FDA blocks diabetics in the US from using the LGS.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is sponsoring a petition to send to the FDA encouraging them to move forward with adopting recommendations from industry experts. Adopting these recommendations would result in the FDA approving clinical trials around this sort of device.

The FDA is set to issue its guidance on 1 December, so there’s not much time to sway their opinion. Please take a few minutes, think this over, perhaps do some research on your own, and then go sign the petition if you believe it’s worthwhile.

If the same device is approved in 40 other nations, why in the world shouldn’t diabetics and medical researchers  here in the US have access to it? (Please note that depending on what sources you read from, the FDA isn’t actively blocking use of these devices; it just appears they’re not moving forward with approval in a timely fashion.)

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