55 Responses

  1. Scott S
    Scott S January 13, 2010 at 9:04 am | | Reply

    Exciting news! You noted that this is basically a Johnson & Johnson deal, but given the other partnerships JDRF has facilitated, how soon might similar products from some of the other vendors be out? Does JDRF expect more widespread insurance coverage as a result of the improvements in functionality?

  2. Allison Blass
    Allison Blass January 13, 2010 at 9:05 am | | Reply

    This might be the only thing that would convince me to break my 10 year relationship with Medtronic Minimed. I really am not a fan of Animas pumps (their screen looks like an old-school PC from the 90s), and have always had good experiences with Minimed customer service. But if this thing works, then, well, who am I to argue with progress?

  3. Type 1 for 24 years
    Type 1 for 24 years January 13, 2010 at 9:10 am | | Reply

    This is not a question, but please JDRF and Aminas, for the love of all that is good, make it ONE integrated device with ONE set. PLEASE! (If possible of course…) And thanks Amy for the exclusive info… you are so great!

  4. Colleen
    Colleen January 13, 2010 at 9:39 am | | Reply

    I guess my question is basically how can I get one? How can we get involved in the clinical trials?

    And I’m in the same boat as Allison. I’ve stuck with Minimed for 10 years because they’ve always been on the cutting edge. This would likely be the only thing to make me switch!

  5. Kristin
    Kristin January 13, 2010 at 10:56 am | | Reply

    Thanks for the interesting post Amy!

    Medtronic released the Paradigm Veo system in Europe, which stops insulin delivery for a period of time in response to a low ( How much more advanced will this be? I know many find the Dexcom CGMS more accurate than the MiniMed one, but I wonder why this step is being treated as such a break through? I think that stopping the pumps due to lows is less dangerous than doses because of highs. Dosing for a false high could be immediately fatal.

    I would be curious about how many CGMS users feel that their system is accurate enough for insulin delivery to be decided on it. Will the project be using Dexcom’s existing technology or is their a need to improve its accuracy before integration?

    What about active insulin/ insulin on board? Will the system take into account how long it has been since I’ve eaten and how much active insulin is working?

    In short, I feel that an artificial pancreas needs to have a BIG brain to make all the subtle decisions that we make in our daily life. I dose differently based on SO many factors.

    I’m glad this research is going on, but I’m still waiting for a cure!!!

  6. Anne Findlay
    Anne Findlay January 13, 2010 at 11:03 am | | Reply

    This is fantastic news. Personally, I am very excited that Animas was chosen because their pump is waterproof!! This to me has been a deal-breaker condition for any pump that I use. For something that I wear 24/7 I shouldn’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain. Also it would be so exciting to have a record during swimming. I know this is not a huge concern to most people, but it makes me very happy. :) I imagine it would be less optimal to have periods being disconnected with a system like this as well.l

    Also my experience with the Dexcom was mostly positive–I never had any problems with the sensor staying on and it (the sensor) was the smallest of the three CGMs (at the time I was using it anyway). I always thought when I was using that there was no reason I should not have perfect BG control while I was sleeping or when otherwise in a “steady state” condition. It sounds like a really good step forward to me. Obviously the CGM technology still needs to improve but it sounds like they are addressing the reliability issues.

    My question is… what if I am exercising? I might still want to set a temporary basal rate. Is there a mode on the pump to disable automatic insulin adjustments? The biggest issue with diabetes control is the time lags between insulin action, food action, exercise etc. How would it handle a very dynamic situation?

    And I second the motion that there be only one receiver/pump device. I will cry tears of joy if this really works. And reclaim some of my brain space.

  7. Kristin
    Kristin January 13, 2010 at 11:08 am | | Reply

    Me again, with one more question!

    Any thoughts about incorporating glucagon or another substance to raise blood sugars into the pump? How many of your correct lows by turning your pump off? This is much to slow to raise blood sugar immediately.

  8. Carol
    Carol January 13, 2010 at 11:59 am | | Reply

    To use a bowling analogy, this seems like something that will help us keep from throwing gutter balls, but not necessarily bowl strikes without us continuing to think like a pancreas. Don’t get me wrong, staying out of the gutter is a good thing, and I welcome this technology!

    But I’d be interested to know how they plan to allow for overrides based on changes of plans, or recent experience that the dosing algorithm hasn’t caught up with yet. Will it require a regimented lifestyle of “feeding the machine” to calibrate and keep it humming accurately? Are they going to work on shortening the calibration period of the CGM piece? I love my CGM, but it will have to get a lot more accurate before I would trust my life to it 24X7. Call me a skeptic, but I’m betting we are more than the magic 5 years away from this. Hope I’m wrong though! Competition is good, and perhaps that will drive both Minimed and J&J to forge ahead with urgency.

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  10. the poor diabetic
    the poor diabetic January 13, 2010 at 3:00 pm | | Reply

    Great news to diabetics type 1 everywhere.
    Hopefully this product is out soon for practical use.

  11. Wendy
    Wendy January 13, 2010 at 3:25 pm | | Reply

    The first thing that comes to mind is concern over patents. I feel that, ultimately, we lost our daughter’s Cozmo because of MM lawsuits.

    I would like to be assured that no one is infringing on anyone else’s technology/patents for fear that it will be swiped into oblivion by a court system after it becomes a part of our life.

    Beyond all that, I’d like to know if it will intrinsically account for IOB (from both carbs &/or corrections) when determining if more/less insulin is necessary at any given moment.

    Thank you!

  12. Steve Parker, M.D.
    Steve Parker, M.D. January 13, 2010 at 4:03 pm | | Reply

    This is an interesting blend of for-profit capitalism and non-profit donated research money. I wish the parties best of luck. Voluntary donors to JDRF may have some questions, such as . . .

    How much and what percentage of the research and development money is each party contributing? Why do Animas and Dexcom need JDRF’s money?

    If the proposed artificial pancreas is successful, what is JDRF’s percentage of the future profits?

    When and if this project ever starts making money, will we be able to trust that JDRF’s recommendations are based on science rather than financial ties to Animas and Dexcom?


  13. David Downs
    David Downs January 13, 2010 at 7:17 pm | | Reply

    I’ve looked at the video on the JDRF web site. If this algorithm is runnning on a laptop (with a presumably strong processor and lots of memory) does the JDRF/Animas team feel confident they can incorporate it into the small form factor of a pump? Processors and memory are always shrinking but I’d love to know if this is a big challenge. If not, why will it take years to get a working prototype to the FDA for review? Put me on the record as a pump user for 13 years who’d be willing to wear a larger pump if it held such promising teachnology.

  14. Freddie
    Freddie January 13, 2010 at 8:16 pm | | Reply

    Although this is a great step forward, I am concerned that the money spent by the JDRF is going to only benefit one team (Animas/Dexcom). This should be an open source effort where the algorithms developed by this effort should be made available to all pump companies to implement as they see fit (tube, tubeless, small form factor, two units, etc). Competition is great for the patients and it seems that Animas just got a big chunk of money to move them forward.

    I apologize if I’m wrong and the plan is to do this all along but I don’t believe I read it in the info that has been made available today…

  15. Cathy
    Cathy January 13, 2010 at 8:17 pm | | Reply

    I thought JDRF was interested in finding a cure???? Are you basically saying JDRF is are not interested in using their 8 MILLION DOLLARS for a real cure, but rather some new man-made money making devise???

  16. Laura
    Laura January 14, 2010 at 6:45 am | | Reply

    I agree with Cathy. What happened to JDRF spending money for a cure?! This device is for profit…come they really think pharma will shell out lots of money for a cure which puts their profits at risk? WHy not use this money to fund research for a cure? I think pharma would do the devices without JDRF helping them.

  17. Nathan
    Nathan January 14, 2010 at 7:04 am | | Reply

    Why did JDRF choose Animas over Medtronic? Given that about 70% of pumpers use Medtronic products, wouldn’t it be more helpful to help them develop this? If this device is successful and marketed is JDRF receiving anything?

  18. Paul
    Paul January 14, 2010 at 7:19 am | | Reply

    Animas over Medtronic? I guess this falls under follow the money maybe? Animas is a Johnson and Johnson company. Woody Johnson is a former or current director at JDRF and a Johnson and Johnson company heir. He is also the father of Casey Johnson the socialite that recently died and was a type 1 diabetic. Coincidence that Animas got the gig, maybe, maybe not.

  19. Jill L
    Jill L January 14, 2010 at 7:36 am | | Reply

    FOUR years? What’s the hold up. We’ve been hearing about the artificial pancreas for years and years. I still only considered it a way to stay healthier until Dr. Denise Faustman at Harvard Medical has her promising CURE approved and available.

  20. Fred H
    Fred H January 14, 2010 at 8:41 am | | Reply

    Maybe JDRF should rename their walks “JDRF walk for a Bandaid” in lieu of a cure. I am very disappointed with this news. A company like Johnson and Johnson should not need this extra money. Maybe I should just buy Johnson and Johnson stock with what would be money donated to JDRF and get in on the monopoly.

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  22. tom
    tom January 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm | | Reply

    I’d rather see a cure too but I think this is a good middle step. It is something that can really happen whereas a “cure” is something that maybe will happen someday. As for the feasibility, as an engineer who programs computers and small micro-controllers, I don’t see any problem from a technical standpoint of implementing the artificial pancreas algorithm on a small handheld device. I do have some concerns about the accuracy of the CGM part though. My daughter uses an Animas pump and we have been very happy with it. A pump is a pump, the different brands really and not that different. Yeah, this smells a little bit with Johnson & Johnson seeming to gain from some of our JDRF donation money. But, if it speeds up the development and FDA process then I am happy. My daughter will be a teenager in five years so this device will be a godsend for us.

  23. Type1er
    Type1er January 14, 2010 at 6:25 pm | | Reply

    I’m really getting sick and tired of the JDRF’s “Dedicated to finding a cure”. No you’re not. Change your slogan already and stop deceiving people.

    It seems like a fitting one is, “Dedicated to helping billion dollar companies with good press and increasing their shareholders value.” JDRF will respond: “Well, we’re helping diabetics”. Well, then stop saying yourmain goal is a cure.

    Fred, you are right. I’d rather buy J&J stock with my Etrade account than give to the JDRF this year. Sure, I’ll have to pay $9.99 in commissions through Etrade, but I can only imagine how much JDRF is taking in between my pocket and them writing a check to J&J. DRI here I come.

  24. John
    John January 15, 2010 at 2:39 am | | Reply

    My question is, will insurance cover this?! Medtronics “Guardian” has been on the market for several years, yet I still do not own one simply because insurance will not cover it! Are you telling me I am going to have to wait 4 years for this technology, which insurance won’t cover for another 5 years atleast? And then have to buy some new upgraded artificial pancreas that doesn’t require meal boluses? Forgive me for being a little angry, but I would much rather have a cure. I do enjoy and welcome anything that makes my life with diabetes easier, and I would definitely use an artificial pancreas, but I want it to be done right. I don’t want to wait 4 years for something that will shutoff when I am going low and increase my basal when I’m high, but leave me doing the majority of the work. If we have to wait four years, we should be given an actual artificial pancreas that does the job of a pancreas, not an insulin pump with “pancreas-like” features. So I guess that leaves me with two questions:

    1. Why do they want to fall short of a true artificial pancreas and leave the bolusing to us? Why not go the full mile and make a revolutionary product that will completely change our lives from the get go, instead of one that leaves us waiting for an upgrade?

    2. Will you be working with insurance companies in the years prior to the release to ensure swift coverage on this “aritificial pancreas”, or will it go off into insurance la-la land once it is released, where we are stuck waiting and fighting for another 5 to 10 years to get this product at an affordable level?

  25. laurie
    laurie January 15, 2010 at 5:48 am | | Reply

    Will JDRF let us earmark our fundraising money to go towards a cure? The JDRF sample walk letter is deceiving. I hope they change that. I’m all for an artificial pancreas, but for my family we ask our family and friends to “walk” with us and we’re focused on an end all cure. That’s our personal goal that we want to support financially. We’ll assess where that is being best accomplished.

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  27. Bob
    Bob January 15, 2010 at 1:07 pm | | Reply

    Wow! I have to say that I am truly amazed at the backlash directed at JDRF and J&J.

    The reality is that without the contributions of many, many for-profit and not-for-profit entities, we would all be diagnosing diabetes like the Greeks did, by peeing on an anthill to see if the ants came up to feast on the sugar.

    Oh yeah, and after we found out we were diabetic, we would all die.

    Lighten up, folks. This is good news..

  28. Penny
    Penny January 15, 2010 at 1:25 pm | | Reply

    My future donations are going into diabetes company stocks and startups instead of JDRF so that when JDRF pumps money into them I’ll make a big enough return to cover my out of pocket diabetes costs. Anyone else notice the spike on DXCM currently trading at almost $10 a share?

  29. Dave Walker
    Dave Walker January 15, 2010 at 1:31 pm | | Reply

    Bob – come join us, down here on planet earth brother! Doctors who gave a shit found porcine insuline. Pharmas patented synthetics to make a buck. And John is right, JDRF lies about what they will use funds for – a cure.

  30. Eric
    Eric January 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm | | Reply

    Bob, the problem is that those for-profit and non-for profit entities have been mislead by JRDF. JDRF is a non-profit who’s mantra is, “JDRF dedicated to finding a cure” Now they are providing $8 Million in funding to a project that can only benefit select public, for-profit companies for a project that is not a cure. I’m sure that a decent portion of that $8 million was raised during “For the Cure” events by companies that compete with J&J. I don’t blame J&J for jumping on it, but in my opinion JDRF crossed the line here.

  31. Cathy
    Cathy January 15, 2010 at 6:39 pm | | Reply

    So Amy…… JDRF has $100 MILLION dollars….. what ARE they doing for a cure???

  32. Megan
    Megan January 15, 2010 at 7:51 pm | | Reply

    Amy, much of the rancor comes because of the obvious conflict of interest inherent in the JDRF/J&J relationship. It smells bad. J&J does not need JDRF’s 8 million dollars, and I did not bust my hump raising money for JDRF to have it given to JOHNSON & JOHNSON. Ridiculous.

    JDRF is trying to push the AP as a cure, and it’s bunk. If my kid has to wear a machine to live, he is not “cured” by any definition of the word.

    JDRF should be ashamed.

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  34. Bob
    Bob January 15, 2010 at 10:36 pm | | Reply

    Hey, I’m just an old guy living with a pump that has made me healthier, and has made my life dramatically less complicated.

    I don’t see how this initiative is contradictive to the JDRF stated goal. Is it possible that this project is the best way they have found to create a bridge to the cure?

    Should JDRF stop all their other activities? The education resources they provide don’t contribute to finding a cure. The local offices they have aren’t finding a cure. Contributions to developing new and better insulin don’t find a cure. Their CGM study, named a top ten medical breakthrough in 2008, doesn’t find a cure.

    I like to believe that the experts at JDRF are a bit more informed than me and are doing what is best for us.

    As I said earlier, I just don’t get the backlash. Many folks here are deriding JDRF for this move. If you have spent any time learning about JDRF, you should know that one of their publicly stated goals is to see the development of an artificial pancreas. Maybe… just maybe, considering the AMAZING complexity of this condition, that IS the cure.

    Dave asked me to come down to Earth. I think I have my feet firmly planted. I absolutely have no facts to back this up, but Dave, I would wager that those doctors, God love them, who developed porcine insulin, were at least partially funding by the pharmaceutical industry.

    If finding the cure were easy, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  35. Jan
    Jan January 16, 2010 at 4:28 am | | Reply

    Minimed has been the leader in cgms technology to date. Minimed has had a pump integrated with cgms for YEARS and has brought to market in the U.K. a pump that turns off automatically when the PWD’s blood sugar hits 50. So JDRF chooses…… J&J and Animas! The Animas pump is STILL not integrated with Dexcom. I, too, find JDRF’s ties to J&J heir Woody Johnson suspect. I say this although we use the Minimed pump and Dexcom (which we prefer despite the fact fails to track her blood sugars reliably the minute she goes to sleep with ??? much of the night; I can’t stay up ALL night tracking her blood sugars, only part of it). We had trialed the Minimed cgms and both were not accurate enough to dose for highs from. Minimed’s pump has been a leader in the industry and JDRF, which, supposedly, is funded by Parent’s donations, choosing ONE pump company over all the others is reprehensible. This technology needs to be available to all. JDRF should not be entering into private deals with members on their Board. Conflict of interest? You bet!

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  37. Jan
    Jan January 16, 2010 at 4:46 am | | Reply

    P.S. Not opposed to JDRF spending a portion of their funds on the Artificial Pancreas, Smart Insulin or other emerging technologies to make life for PWDs safer and more manageable before a cure is found. It is the partnering with J&J solely, to the exclusion of other pump manufacturers that I question. I would also like to know why JDRF will not help fund Faustman’s research or LTC, who are in promising trials with encapsulated porcine islets. At one point, I would have surmised JDRF would not fund LTC (despite promising clinical trials to date) because it is a private company but partnering with J&J puts this theory to rest. I believe Faustman’s research indicates she could cure a percentage of PWDs out of honeymoon (percentage is yet to be determined, but it could be a high percentage and even a small percentage cured would be extremely promising). JDRF choosing to fund certain research, while ignoring very promising leads….. I find this baffling.

  38. Rachel
    Rachel January 16, 2010 at 7:51 am | | Reply

    I am a 12 year old Type 1 Diabetic. I think this is the stupidest thing JDFR has done! This in all means isnt a cure. Who would want to wear something on their skin 24/7 anyway. This to me is like the same method as a pump, but only calling it a “cure”. This device wont even be handed out to everyone who is a diabetic anyway. This is a total waste of money and should be used for more logical things. The JDRF should be helping Faustman’s cure by giving her money to do so. It sounds like the JDRF has a lot of money and isnt helping diabetics, Why would anyone want to wear a device on themselves for the rest of their lives when they know that Foustman has the real cure that u can totally forget about diabetes and live normally. They should just give the 8 million dollars to people who actaully need it like the people in Haiti who had the horrible earthquake or to the people who are starving. WHAT A TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY!!!

  39. Clarke
    Clarke January 16, 2010 at 8:47 pm | | Reply

    After pumping for 7 years, when it comes to being the first to market, my bet is still with Minimed. Especially considering they already have the Veo pump in Europe as the other poster commented. Animas + Dexcom have just started working on the techonology? If so, they will bring their version out several years after Minimed.

    I am a bit confused on the spin that both Animas and JDRF put on this topic in both the press release and on the video on the JDRF website. Both parties act like Animas is the only company with this technology and they will be the first to market. We know this not to be the case since the Veo is ALREADY AVAILABLE in Europe.

    I just can’t wait until the FDA approves the Veo for the United States.

  40. Clarke
    Clarke January 16, 2010 at 8:54 pm | | Reply

    Sorry, I had one more thought. The Animas sales rep and nurse both say that they don’t believe in an integrated system claiming there should be a human brain when it comes to dosing. The Animas sales rep wears the pump but refuses to wear the Dexcom or the Guardian. He claims he knows his body better than a computer and that he wants to be the one in control.

    I am certain he will be calling me soon promoting his new found belief in an integrated system since his company MIGHT one day get this technology.

    Don’t fool yourself. This entire collaboration between JDRF and Animas boils down to money and revenue. Sad when the source of that revenue is us patients.

  41. MoHo
    MoHo January 17, 2010 at 10:38 pm | | Reply

    We need faster acting insulin before this can become reality, Humalog/Apidra/Novolog are still not fast enough to correct BS swings like a pancreas can. What we have available now is just not good enough for the desired outcome, 15 minutes to take effect and a two hour IOB time are just too imprecise.

  42. Penny
    Penny January 18, 2010 at 9:11 pm | | Reply

    What about the counter-regulatory side, too. Not sure I want just an artificial pancreas if I can’t have an artificial liver, too?

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  44. PHR
    PHR January 19, 2010 at 10:27 am | | Reply

    I’m thankful people are finally waking up and seeing JDRF’s true colors. I have said since my son’s diagnosis (four years ago) that the powers that be at JDRF are in it for profit. It was quite obvious to me at the very beginning of my son’s diagnosis. An artificial pancreas is not a cure. It’s not even in close, in my book. It is a glorified pump. Since my son’s diagnosis all I’ve heard about is the money that JDRF is pouring into the artificial pancreas. I’d like my money to go towards a cure, thanks. Sure, they throw a bit at research here and there so they can say they are helping. I was suspicious of them in the beginning and when they announced they would not donate even one dime to Dr. Faustman’s research I knew for sure where they stood. That’s where my money goes. Dr. Faustman’s research may not pan out. But, at least I know that I’m not lining someone else’s pockets with my money and there is at least a shot that it will help find a cure.

  45. Cathy
    Cathy January 19, 2010 at 1:34 pm | | Reply

    I’d like to comment about what PHR said….. this whole JDRF thing really did open my eyes… I didn’t realize JDRF had sooo much money and what a huge organization it is…..JDRF’s 2008 IRS Form 990 reported the CEO James Tyree received $ 531,040.00 in compensation and the VP research Arnold Donald received $507,068.00

    Looking back to the 2007 IRS Form 990… Arnold Donald was the Pres and CEO and received $616,875.00 while Dr. Richard Insel was the VP Research received $539,216.00

    When the kids are walking for the JDRF…. do they realize how much the CEO, etc. are making??

    I’d feel bad for making that much money off of people’s hard earned donations, but that is my opinion.

    Is this the fleecing of Children in America who have a horrible life burdening disease.??

    Thanks for listening.

  46. Penny
    Penny January 19, 2010 at 5:38 pm | | Reply

    Wow. Something this important and only 46 posts? If there was ever something worth a full press conference to communicate why and what we should expect, this would be it.

  47. Ali
    Ali January 20, 2010 at 3:18 am | | Reply

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  49. Sean Beauhaire
    Sean Beauhaire April 18, 2010 at 10:23 pm | | Reply

    The problem is demonstrating the need and medical necessity to insurance providers.

    Now that CGM devices are beginning to add features like audible warning alerts to alert its users of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia life threatening changes.

    The Dexcom 7 Plus, is in my view similar to that of an OnStar satellite communication system, installed in most GM and Chevrolet vehicles. The Dexcom 7 Plus CGM can alert its user before a crash. The OnStar alerts after the crash.

    Moreover CGM’s can help tighten control, adding to a cost affective way for insurance providers to save money, in preventative care in diabetic complications.

    I myself am a type 1 and 2 diabetic, my most recent A1C was 6.35, my highest was 17.5. I also have had multiple surgeries due to Crohn’s disease. This makes it especially challenging when carb counting as I maybe carb counting for the prior day.

    There are many parents who loose sleep, in fear of losing a child do to a sudden drop in blood glucose. This unfortunately have left some who have lost someone for this very reason.

    I have suggested to Dexcom that they add a bluetooth capability to their device where I believe software can easily be marketed to alert medical, family or friends via a cell phone or PDA of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia changes. This would further the reasoning why insurance companies must cover these devices. Adding that most insurance companies cover devices like the alert for life (HELP I’VE FALLEN AND CAN’T GET UP).

    Shame on any insurance provider that denies these CGM’s and insulin pumps to those that will benefit.

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