AFTER YEARS OF ANTICIPATION:
The Artificial Pancreas System, made by Meditronic, comprising technology developed by Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel in cooperation with DreaMed Diabetes has been included in the 2022 Health Basket of the Israeli Ministry of Health
After many years of waiting, the Artificial Pancreas system made by Meditronic comprising technology developed at Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, in cooperation with the DreaMed Diabetes company, has been included in the 2022 health basket of services. This is life-changing news for about 50,000 Type I diabetics living in Israel today, including 5,000 children in particular.
Diabetes demands continuous monitoring of nutrition and sugar levels in the blood, which require patients to inject insulin into their bodies throughout the day in order to compensate for the impaired function of the pancreas. Insulin-reliant diabetes is a growing global problem that affects over 90 million people worldwide, and to prevent severe complications, blood sugar levels monitoring is absolutely critical. In spite of the advances made in insulin treatment and blood-checking devices, most patients do not reach the desired levels of blood sugar and they are thus liable to contract chronic complications requiring expensive care.
The artificial pancreas system comprises a sensor connected to the subcutaneous tissues which monitors the blood glucose, and a pump that secretes insulin. The sensor and pump are connected to an algorithm, the “brain”, designed with technology developed at Schneider. The algorithm programs the data and stipulates the amount of insulin to be released into the body so that the patient’s glucose level is optimally balanced. “Closing the loop” between the sensor and the pump and releasing the patient from a significant daily obligation to control the blood sugar, also reduces the fear of hypoglycemia (low sugar levels) during sleep, and vastly improves diabetics’ quality of life.
The technological solution integrated into Medtronic’s insulin pump was first developed at Schneider Children’s and culminated in DreaMed Diabetes, a start-up generated from the hospital. Under the leadership of Prof. Moshe Phillip, and in cooperation with Dr. Revital Nimri from Schneider’s Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes, together with a team of engineers, doctors, nurses and dieticians, the group developed the algorithm according the best individual treatment of insulin to each patient and also allowing follow-up of stats through cloud services.
Prof. Phillip, Director of the Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Schneider Children’s, said that “the decision of the Ministry of Health to include the system in the basket of health services is a huge achievement and a very happy day for us and all our patients. The system is based upon the most advanced technology available today, and releases the patient from constant management of blood glucose and insulin injections. In addition, the most significant value of the system is the ability to maintain a balanced glucose level over time, a fact which dramatically reduces the risk of complications from diabetes and promotes the patient’s quality of life immeasurably.”
Eran Atlas, CEO and co-founder of DreaMed, added that, “When we heard that the system was included in the health basket, we were flooded with emotion and immense pride. Our team worked day and night to develop the breakthrough technology that optimizes the entire management of diabetes. As an Israeli company, we are glad finally that what was available to diabetics abroad, has now become available here in Israel.”
The Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes, the National Center for Childhood Diabetes at Schneider Children’s, is one of the largest facilities in the world and annually treats close to 2000 children and youth with diabetes. Some 150 new patients are added each year. The Institute actively conducts advanced basic and clinical research in all spheres of diabetes and endocrinology.