JDRF and Dexcom announced that they have formed a partnership whose goal is to accelerate the development of a novel wireless “smart transmitter” that would allow a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) system to communicate directly with an artificial pancreas control device currently being used for research studies, instead of only with a CGM receiver.
JDRF will provide Dexcom up to $500,000 over 12 months in milestone-based funding to complete the development, testing, and manufacturing of a custom “smart transmitter” prototype, which will be used for studies within JDRF’s Artificial Pancreas Project academic research consortium.
The direct communication capability enabled by the smart transmitter will be an important feature for artificial pancreas trials in outpatient (real-world) settings, as it would eliminate the need for a trial participant to carry multiple devices all wired together while testing an artificial pancreas system’s ability to manage glucose levels.
People with type 1 diabetes are burdened with constantly having to determine the right amount of insulin to dose at the right time, many times every day. Yet even with diligent monitoring, a significant portion of the day is still spent with either high or low blood sugar, placing them at risk for devastating complications.
The artificial pancreas under development will be an external device that people with type 1 diabetes could use to do what their bodies cannot—automatically control their blood sugar around the clock. It will work by combining an insulin pump and a CGM, which provides glucose readings every 1-5 minutes, with sophisticated computer software that allows the two devices to “talk to each other” to determine and provide automatically the right amount of insulin at the right time. Currently, all in-hospital artificial pancreas studies use wires and cables to connect a CGM system and an insulin pump to laptop computers or smartphones, which act as the artificial pancreas controllers.
In current CGM systems, the transmitter sends real-time glucose levels from the sensor to a receiver. In comparison, Dexcom’s next generation of “smart transmitters” will have the ability to wirelessly transmit a glucose value directly to multiple devices, including several versions of an artificial pancreas controller.