It’s in the news! The top stories and headlines around the diabetes community this week include: People on Medicare should see insulin prices capped, A look at whether the tuberculosis vaccine prevented Covid in people with type 1 diabetes, Tandem’s CEO has some news about their tiny Mobi pump, students create non-invasive glucose monitoring, and some progress on smart insulin.
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Hello and welcome to Diabetes Connections In the News! I’m Stacey Simms and these are the top diabetes stories and headlines of the past seven days.
In the news is brought to you by T1D Exchange! T1D Exchange is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving outcomes for the entire T1D population.
The Inflation Reduction act is now law.. and that means a big change for Medicare patients. Among other things, it limits insulin copays to $35 per month for Medicare Part D beneficiaries starting in 2023 and caps annual out-of-pocket cap on Part D prescription drugs at 2-thousand dollars starting in 2025. Medicare will also now have the ability to negotiate the costs of certain prescription drugs. Democrats say they will try to bring a stand alone proposal to ap the price of insulin for a broader population this fall.
XXDid the Tuberculosis vaccine protect people with type 1 from Covid and other infectious diseases? Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have published a new paper looking at the BCG or tuberculosis vaccine. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of patients with type 1 diabetes conducted at the start of the pandemic, before COVID vaccines were available, only 12.5 percent of placebo-treated individuals and 1 percent of BCG-treated individuals had confirmed COVID-19, yielding a vaccine effectiveness of 92 percent.
The BCG-vaccinated group also displayed protective effects against other infectious diseases, including fewer symptoms, lesser severity and fewer infectious disease events per patient. No BCG-related systemic adverse events occurred.
The participants in the COVID trial had previously enrolled in a clinical trial testing the effectiveness of the BCG vaccine for type 1 diabetes. Participants in the test group had received multiple vaccinations before the onset of the pandemic in early 2020.
Students at the American University in Cairo have developed a device that non-invasively measures blood glucose levels, winning first place in 2022 Johns Hopkins Healthcare Design Competition. The device uses near-infrared spectroscopy (speck-troh-sku-pee). It’s called GlucoClip and there’s also a mobile app. . The project took a year, with the team having designed a prototype and testing it on more than 100 people. Amazing that this took students less than a year.. we’ll see if the large commercial companies can accomplish getting something like this to the marketplace.
Interesting progress on glucose-responsive insulin, also called smart insulin. These researchers envision ultra-stable proteins containing a glucagon analog “stapled” to an insulin analog. Preliminary studies are moving along at Indiana University. As the name indicates, this would be insulin that only responds when there is too much glucose in the blood, making the risk of low blood sugar much less likely. Nice to see some options may be possible, last year Lilly bought Protomer Technologies which had smart insulin in pre-clinical development.
New CEO over at Beta Bionics – the company behind the iLet Bionic Pancreas, currently in front of the FDA. Sean Saint will be the new CEO, Martha Goldberg Aronson was interim, we talked to her for the podcast a few months ago, will remain on the Beta Bionics Board of Directors. Saint is an engineer, entrepreneur, diabetes technologist and innovator, and lives with type 1. He started at Medtronic and ahs also been at Dexcom and Tandem. It was after working at all those diabetes companies that he developed type 1 as an adult.. and founded Companion Medical, maker of the InPen. Really interesting story and I hope he’ll come on the podcast soon.
But with the troubles of the second quarter solidly in the rearview mirror, Tandem is back in optimist mode, with a rosy outlook toward sales of both existing and upcoming technologies.
Chief among the latter category is the Mobi insulin pump. The device is about half the size of Tandem’s flagship t:slim pump and can be fully controlled by a user’s smartphone. It’ll also represent “the first novel form factor launched in our space since we introduced t:slim a decade ago,” Sheridan said on the call.
“We are in the final stages of testing, as well as drafting the submission, and intend to submit a 510(k) to the FDA this quarter,” the chief executive said. He noted that Tandem is already preparing for the pint-sized pump’s commercial launch following FDA clearance, which it’s tentatively expecting to snag in the first half of 2023.
In the meantime, Sheridan said Tandem is also working closely with partners Dexcom and Abbott to integrate its insulin pumps with their newest continuous glucose monitors: Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre 3, which was cleared by the FDA just a few months ago, and Dexcom’s G7 device, whose own FDA review is still underway after an agency request for more information.
Possible new way to look for type 2 diabetes before there are any severe symptoms. Researchers from the University of Geneva found that a decline in one molecule indicates a loss of functional beta cells. This molecule, which can be easily detected by a blood test, may be utilized to detect the onset of diabetes in at-risk individuals.
These researchers say this discovery opens new avenues for preventing diabetes, particularly for at-risk people. A simple blood sampling followed by an inexpensive specific test could identify a potential diabetes onset in these people, prompting actions to be taken before the situation becomes irreversible.”
The T1D Exchange Registry is a research study conducted online over time, designed to foster innovation and improve the lives of people with T1D. The platform is open to both adults and children with T1D living in the U.S. Personal information remains confidential and participation is fully voluntary. Once enrolled, participants will complete annual surveys and have the opportunity to sign up for other studies on specific topics related to T1D. The registry aims to improve knowledge of T1D, accelerate the discovery and development of new treatments and technologies, and generate evidence to support policy or insurance changes that help the T1D community. By sharing opinions, experiences and data, patients can help advance meaningful T1D treatment, care and policy.
The registry is now available on the T1D Exchange website and is simple to navigate, mobile and user-friendly. For more information or to register, go to www.t1dregistry.org/stacey
Abbott and Weight Watchers are teaming up. They’ve set up what they call a “strategic partnership” that will help people living with diabetes better understand and manage both their condition and their weight. The release says both companies are bringing their marketed products together to help patients, while also boosting their use. The partnership will start in earnest from next year and initially focus on the U.S.
Next week we’re talking back to school! The wonderful diabetes educator Anna Sabino from Finding Smiles coaching will join me to talk 504, remote monitoring, supplies and lots more. The long format episode out right now is with Patients For Affordable Drugs about the bill that passed the Senate this week. The insulin copay cap was removed, but what does it really mean for medication prices?
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That’s In the News for this week.. if you like it, please share it! Thanks for joining me! See you back here soon.