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Diabetes Breakthrough Nears With Medtronic’s Artificial Pancreas

  • Company has filed for FDA approval of first bionic pancreas
  • Device checks blood sugar, delivers insulin every five minutes

The discovery of insulin almost a century ago was one of the most remarkable achievements in medical history, transforming a deadly disease into a manageable one. Now diabetics are on the cusp of another breakthrough, one that could ease the endless task of manually testing and adjusting their blood sugar levels.

Medtronic Plc has filed for U.S. approval of the first artificial pancreas, a device the size of a smartphone that wirelessly connects an insulin pump and glucose monitor. The equipment, which remains outside the body, can take over for the malfunctioning organ that’s supposed to naturally produce insulin, the hormone that converts blood sugar to energy.