Swiss firm Debiotech is teaming up with French/Italian manufacturer STMicroelectronics to bring to market a miniaturized insulin pump, bound to change the lives of countless diabetics, provided it makes through the regulatory process:
The Nanopump, which relies on microfluidic MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical System) technology, is a breakthrough concept that allows a tiny pump to be mounted on a disposable skin patch to provide continuous insulin infusion. The Nanopump will enable substantial advancements in the availability, treatment efficiency and the quality of life of diabetes patients. The original technology was awarded the Swiss Technology Award in 2006 and this agreement brings it closer to the market.
Insulin pump therapy, or Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion (CSII), is an increasingly attractive alternative to individual insulin injections that must be administered several times a day. With CSII, the patient is connected to a programmable pump attached to a storage reservoir, from which insulin is infused into the tissue under the skin. Continuous delivery throughout the day, more closely mimics the natural secretion of insulin from the pancreas.
The highly miniaturized disposable insulin pump combines Debiotech’s expertise in insulin delivery with ST’s strengths in manufacturing high-volume silicon-based microfluidic devices. Microfluidic technology allows the flow of very small amounts of fluids to be electronically controlled. This pump represents a significant step in the development and adoption of CSII therapy and the leading-edge technology will also find applications in many other biomedical applications.
Today, existing insulin pumps are about the size of a pager. The new ST-enabled Debiotech miniaturized MEMS device is about one quarter the size of these existing pumps and can be worn as a nearly invisible patch on the skin. The small size frees the patient from concerns with holding the pump in place and concealing it under clothing.
The MEMS-based Nanopump also provides better control of the administered insulin doses. Dosing precision is a critical factor in treatment efficacy and contributes to reducing adverse long-term consequences. The Nanopump is able to control delivery at the nanoliter level, very close to the physiological delivery of insulin. The device prevents over-dosing and detects under-delivery, occlusion, air bubbles and other potential malfunctions in the pump to further protect patients. As a disposable device, manufactured using high-volume semiconductor processing technologies, the MEMS-based Nanopump will also be much more affordable, allowing the patient or the health system to avoid the typical up-front investment associated with current pump solutions.
The insulin Nanopump, developed by Debiotech and industrialized by ST, represents the first use of microfluidic MEMS technology in diabetes treatment.
The last statement is probably not true. A search of Medgadget archives reveals that MEMS technology is incorporated in the recently profiled NiliMEDIX Insulin Pumps.
For more information head on to the technology page and product page…
Press release: Disposable Insulin Nanopump from Debiotech and STMicroelectronics Marks Major Breakthrough in Diabetes Treatment …
MEMS Flashbacks: The EndoSure™ Wireless AAA Pressure Measurement System; MicroPyramid Technology by NanoPass; The Hydromechanical Cochlea
(hat tip: DiabetesMine)