FDA Approves the First ‘Artificial Pancreas’ for Diabetes
A device that makes type-1 diabetes care much easier gets the green light
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first artificial pancreas device for people with type 1 diabetes in the United States. The device monitors a person’s blood sugar levels and automatically provides insulin if needed.
The pancreas provides insulin naturally to the body to regulate blood sugar levels, but for people with diabetes, this process does not work correctly. Instead, people with diabetes must continuously monitor their blood sugar levels and give themselves insulin when needed. On Wednesday, the FDA approved a Medtronic device called the MiniMed 670G, which measures a person’s blood sugar levels every five minutes and provides more insulin or withholds it.
The device is approved for people ages 14 and older with type 1 diabetes and is attached to a person’s body. People using the device will still have to manually request more insulin after they eat.
As TIME has previously reported, other companies and researchers are working on different versions of the artificial or bionic pancreas. For some, a device that requires no input from a person whatsoever is the ultimate goal. A small research group behind the company Beta Bionics has a similar device to Medtronic and is building a version that monitors blood sugar levels and releases insulin to bring the sugar down or another hormone called glucagon to bring it back up.
Medtronic is studying whether the device could work for people younger than 14. The device does carry risks, like the possibility of developing hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia and skin irritation. You can read more about the approval here.
This article originally appeared on Time.com.