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Medtronic Advances Insulin Pump Technology

A new device has hit the market for people with Type 1 diabetes, allowing for better management of glucose levels with a lot less work. In September, the Food and Drug Administration approved Medtronic Inc.’s MiniMed 670G system – the first hybrid closed loop insulin delivery device approved anywhere in the world. Now that the system is commercially available, endocrinologists are beginning to prescribe it to patients, including a high school senior in Los Angeles named Scott, 18, who is one of the first people to receive the 670G system. The new insulin delivery device differs from previous models in its accuracy and automation, utilizing two pieces of hardware – a pump and a sensor – with predictive software. The SmartGuard HCL algorithm monitors and delivers a variable rate of insulin throughout the day, so the patient stays within the target glucose level range. In addition, it tracks and learns a patient’s insulin needs to prevent spikes and plummets in glucose levels. The analytical software minimizes the patient’s work in regard to inputting and self-tracking. However, he or she will still need to enter carbohydrates, accept or reject dosage adjustment recommendations and periodically calibrate the sensor. “I’ve had the system for two months, and it’s been working great,” Scott said. “The system prevents me from crashing. Sometimes when I would crash, I would overcorrect (when self-administering), so the system catches that before I crash.” His endocrinologist, Dr. Kevin Kaiserman, said the 670G system “improves overall management” of diabetes, and he is pleased with its results. “One nice thing about the system is it improves control without increasing the burden of care,” he said. “A lot of technologies over the years have enabled better care but with a lot more burden. This allows patients to have better overall control.” Medtronic is based in Dublin with its diabetes division in Northridge, where the 670G system was developed. Workplace Drug Testing Medical lab Quest Diagnostics Inc. of Madison, N.J. just released its Drug Testing Index, which showed the highest rate of workforce drug test positivity in 12 years. The study, which analyzed more than 10 million workforce drug test results across the country, found that overall positivity in urine drug testing among U.S. workers in 2016 was 4.2 percent. This number is up from last year’s rate of 4 percent, and is the highest rate since 2004, when it was 4.5 percent. “This year’s findings are remarkable, because they show increased rates of drug positivity for the most common illicit drugs across virtually all drug test specimen types and in all testing populations,” Dr. Barry Sample, senior director of science and technology for Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions, said in a statement. According to the study, marijuana positivity in workplace drug testing has risen in conjunction with recent state laws legalizing the use of the substance. For instance, Colorado and Washington, the first states to allow recreational use of marijuana, had increases that doubled the national average. Cocaine and amphetamine positivity was up as well, with heroine results remaining steady. In the Valley, the study found that the areas with the highest positivity rates – 4.5 to 5.5 percent – were Burbank as well as the West Valley and Conejo Valley region, which includes Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Canoga Park, Northridge, Pacoima and Reseda. The area with the lowest rate was Glendale at 2.5 to 3.5 percent with the rest of the Valley testing somewhere around the national average. Patent Protection Avita Medical Ltd. in Valencia is disputing a patent owned by New York-based Renovacare Sciences Corp., claiming infringement on its skin renewing technology. The company develops treatments that remove a small sample of a patient’s skin cells, breaks them up and mixes them into a solution that helps them multiply. From there, the mixture is sprayed onto an injured, burned or damaged area to stimulate healthy skin growth. Avita’s spray technology, ReCell, is currently on the market. However, Renovacare is in the process of developing its own skin cell therapy, which also sprays a patient’s own stem cells on a burn wound for increased regeneration. The treatment, known as the CellMist system, is not commercially available, but Renovacare holds U.S. patent No. 9,610,430 to protect the technology in question. Earlier this month, Avita filed the patent challenge with the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which will review the petition and determine if the case goes to trial. “We believe we have presented a very strong rationale to the PTAB as to why this patent should never have been issued, and thus, we respectfully request that all claims in the ‘430 patent should be cancelled,” Avita Chief Executive Adam Kelliher said in a statement. Staff Reporter Stephanie Henkel can be reached at (818) 316-3130 or shenkel@sfvbj.com.

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