Management of diabetes care has improved dramatically since the introduction of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring. Now, companies are hopeful that an “artificial pancreas” is on the horizon, which would substantially improve the standard of care for this common disease. We also look at 3D printing human ears, enrollment of oncology trials and the prospect of approval of a new COVID-19 vaccine. Finally, we look at one couple’s campaign to rewrite the prospects for patients with a 160-year-old disease.
Each week we highlight five things you need to know in the life sciences industry. Here’s the latest.
Medtronic shared promising results from its all-in-one diabetes management system at the annual American Diabetes Association’s scientific session. The automated system, often referred to as an “artificial pancreas,” helps users stay within their ideal glucose range 73% of the day. They’re hoping to make further improvements over the next year that will improve the device and eliminate the need to manually adjust insulin doses during meals.
A team has successfully implanted the first 3D-printed ear using the patient’s own cells. The procedure is the first of a clinical trial funded by 3DBio Therapeutics to prove its proprietary tissue engineering technology. If successful, it’s possible the technology could be leveraged to 3D print other body parts and eventually organs.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant decreases in routine medical appointments, including cancer screenings. This led to decreased clinical trial enrollment, especially last year. An analysis of last year’s clinical trial enrollments shows that both cancer screenings and trial enrollments now exceed pre-COVID-19 levels, particularly trial enrollments in studies related to rare indications.
Novavax, a biotech company based in Gaithersburg, Md., has developed the first protein-based vaccine for COVID-19. An advisory committee voted, 21-0 (with one abstention), to recommend that the Food and Drug Administration authorize this vaccine. The committee recommendation suggests that the vaccine will most likely receive FDA approval despite concerns indicating potential cardiac side effects.
For most patients, a diagnosis with a progressive degenerative disease like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis would stop them in their tracks. For Brian Wallach, it was a catalyst to challenge the status quo of research into the disease and to become a champion for other patients. Now the organization he founded is driving substantial new government and private investment into ALS research.