FDA approves artificial pancreas system to help diabetes patients

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- The medical world is rejoicing after the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the artificial pancreas system to help patients with type one diabetes. The device is a game changer for people who are constantly monitoring their blood sugar levels and giving themselves insulin shots.

Aidan Sullivan, 14, has been treated for type 1 diabetes since he was 2 years old. It's a diagnosis that changed their family forever.

"How are we going to be normal again? But we did. We made a decision back then we were not going to let it change his life," said his mother, Jenny Sullivan.

The Sullivan family is still figuring out the best way to keep Aidan on top of his routine.  As a teenager, Aidan says he often forgets to check his levels or feels embarrassed about it around his friends.

"At school I usually get nervous so sometimes I'll intentionally not do it so no one has to see me pull it out or I'll do it really discreet under the desk," said Aidan.

That's why the family says the new artificial pancreas system will be a game changer. The FDA approved the Medtronic MiniMed 670G hybrid closed loop system. It's a small device that combines an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor; they communicate with each other and monitor a patient's blood sugar levels.

The MiniMed gives a dose of insulin as needed, doing away with the multiple finger pricks a day. This is the first system to automatically give insulin does to reduce high blood sugar levels.

So that artificial pancreas will take some of that burden off of me. I lie in bed at night and worry about what he's doing and where he's at and if he's at his friends house has he checked his blood sugar," Jenny said.

The Sullivan family has been involved with JDRF, the leading global organization funding  type 1 diabetes research, for the past 10 years. JDRF says the announcement is a historic achievement and shows the reasons why JDRF exists. This announcement is a testament to the commitment of helping type 1 diabetes patients live a healthier life.

Aidan says he's ready for the device to give him his youth back.

"I feel like I'll be able to live my life more as a 14-year-old like as a teenager because I'm still young I can go out and ride my bike and hang with friends. I won't have to worry oh is my blood sugar high, is my blood sugar low, do I need to do something," he said.

The device has been approved for patients 14 and older. It should be on the market by the spring. For ordering information, click here.