International Diabetes Center celebrates 50 years

International Diabetes Center (IDC) is celebrating 50 years of helping people live well with diabetes. For 34 of those years, Executive Director Richard Bergenstal, MD, has been an integral part of the center.

Throughout his career, Bergenstal has been principal investigator on National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded studies evaluating the importance of glucose control in type 1 and type 2 diabetes and studies on new diabetes medications, technology and models of care.

Researching good glucose control
One NIH trial, the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, showed that good glucose control could dramatically reduce complications of type 1 diabetes (T1D). IDC conducted studies to find a way to safely achieve good glucose control using advanced technology.

IDC published articles in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010 and 2013 showing that an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor used together improved glucose control. Also in 2010, IDC teamed with the T1D Exchange to unite 70 leading U.S. diabetes clinics in collecting consistent data on barriers to achieving good glucose control in 30,000 people with T1D.

Testing of the artificial pancreas
In 2015, IDC was selected as one of 10 sites in the world to study the Medtronic 670G hybrid closed-loop system, a system very close to an artificial pancreas. The system uses a sensor that checks glucose every five minutes, day and night. Results are sent wirelessly to an insulin pump, which determines the amount of insulin to deliver to keep glucose as normal as possible.

IDC published study results in JAMA in September 2016; a few weeks later, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the artificial pancreas. While patients must still work with the system every day, the study showed that they improved overall glucose control, reduced low the occurrence of low glucose levels and felt less of the burden of living with diabetes.

The artificial pancreas is now being prescribed by a few diabetes centers in the United States, including the pediatric and adult endocrinology clinics at Park Nicollet and the adult endocrinology clinic at HealthPartners.

Studying the artificial pancreas of the future

Early in 2017, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease awarded IDC and Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Israel $6.94 million to continue their artificial pancreas research.

IDC will study if a new and improved system can improve glucose control even more than the current system, particularly around meal times. The study, to begin in late 2017, will enroll 100 subjects aged 14 to 30 years.