In the meantime, some tech-savvy members of the Type 1 diabetes community aren't waiting for trials or FDA approvals, having figured out how to "hack" their devices to create their own artificial pancreas systems.
All of this is happening rapidly, but challenges still need to be overcome: For one, the insulin needs to be redesigned to work faster in order to prevent post-meal sugar spikes — after all, it's still being deposited under the skin, rather than directly into the bloodstream the way a healthy pancreas does it.
Also, CGM accuracy needs to improve. Because the devices measure sugar in the tissues rather than the blood, it's not an exact match. Progress is being made on both fronts.
And there's progress on the payment side, too. A Medtronic rep tells Shots that both the MiniMed 640G and the MiniMed 530G are priced similarly to previous systems. Insurance coverage varies greatly by country, of course, and also within the U.S. by insurance plan. The company contracts with more than 600 insurance plans nationwide.
There is one glaring coverage gap: Medicare currently doesn't reimburse for CGMs, meaning that wearers have to give up the devices when they hit 65 or pay for them out of pocket. The JDRF and other organizations are lobbying for legislation to fix that. (Medicare does cover insulin pumps, but largely for people with Type 1.)