Omnipod 5 ‘Artificial Pancreas’ Shows Benefit in Type 1 Diabetes

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Insulet’s investigational Omnipod 5 automated insulin delivery system improves glycemic control in people with type 1 diabetes as young as 2 years of age, new data suggest.

The Omnipod 5 system combines a tubing-free insulin-filled delivery “Pod” with the Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor and an algorithm built into the Pod connecting the two devices via a smartphone app to semiautomate insulin delivery. It is currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration. The company expects to launch it in limited release during the second half of 2021. 

Results from a pivotal trial of the system in children aged 2 to 5.9 years with type 1 diabetes were presented during the virtual American Diabetes Association (ADA) 81st Scientific Sessions.

Follow-up data at 6 months were also presented for another pivotal study of 112 children aged 6-13.9 years and 129 adults aged 14-70 years. Those primary 3-month data were reported earlier this year at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting and subsequently published online June 7 in Diabetes Care. Another study presented at ADA looked at quality of life in children using Omnipod 5 and their caregivers. 

If approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the Omnipod 5 would be the third commercially available automated insulin delivery system — also called hybrid closed-loop or artificial pancreas systems — in the United States. It would be the second approved for children as young as 2 years of age and the first to deliver insulin subcutaneously without tubing.

No Tubing Feature Will Be a Draw for Parents of Young Children

Asked to comment, pediatric endocrinologist Laura M. Jacobsen, MD, of the University of Florida, Gainesville, told Medscape Medical News: “I think the big advantage for the Omnipod 5 is that [if approved it will be] the only tubeless automated insulin delivery system in the US.”

“The automated delivery systems have just been wonderful for helping patients achieve time in range, especially overnight. And the fact that this goes down to such a young age where that can be very difficult is wonderful.”

Another difference between the Omnipod 5 and other systems is the ability to adjust glucose targets (from 110 to 150 mg/dL), although newer versions of the currently available hybrid closed-loop systems are expected to include that feature as well. “They’re all slightly different in the way the algorithms work, but I think the end result is similar,” Jacobsen said.

But, she said, the no-tubing feature might be particularly helpful for some very active young kids. “A lot of small kids do use the tubed pumps, and you can make it work with a lot of kids, but with some kids it just won’t…the tubing gets caught. I think this really helps parents make the step. A lot of them don’t want to try the tubing whereas they see the Omnipod and might feel a little more confidence to try a pump.”

Overall, said Jacobsen, who has no financial disclosures with Insulet, Dexcom, or any of their competitors, “I think any addition to the technology field to improve quality of life for people with type 1 diabetes is important and people need choices.”

Pivotal Data Show Benefit in Difficult to Manage Preschool Children

Pivotal 3-month data for the Omnipod 5 in children aged 2-5.9 years with type 1 diabetes were presented on June 26 by pediatric endocrinologist Jennifer Sherr, MD, PhD, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.

“As a pediatric endocrinologist, I can attest to the difficulty of managing this age group, due to grazing eating patterns and erratic physical activity. Oftentimes, care providers may fear hypoglycemia as these youth can not verbalize or self-treat lows,” she remarked.

A total of 80 children were enrolled at 10 institutions across the United Sates. There was a single 14-day standard therapy phase (baseline), followed by 3 months of automated insulin delivery during which the children’s eating and exercise were unrestricted.

At 3 months, average A1c had fallen from 7.4% at baseline to 6.9%, a significant difference (P < .05). The proportions achieving the target A1c of less than 7% were 54% at 3 months versus 31% at baseline. The reduction was even greater among the 25 with baseline A1c of 8% or greater, although it was significant even among the 55 who started with a lower A1c (–1.06 vs –0.31 percentage points; both P < .05). 

Time in range rose from 57.2% at baseline to 68.1% at 3 months (P < .05).

“These youngsters are spending an average of 2.6 more hours/day in range,” Sherr commented, noting that the difference became apparent shortly after study start and was maintained during the 3 months.

Sherr noted that this 10.9% improvement in time in range with Omnipod 5 was similar to improvements in the previously reported pivotal study of older children and adults. Data from that study showed improvement in time in range from a gain of 15.6% for the 6 to 13.9 year olds to 8.0% for those aged 26-49 years. Interestingly, she noted, improvements in time in range were seen even in the oldest group, aged 50-70, who increased from an already high baseline of 69.9% to 79.1% with Omnipod 5 after 3 months.

In her current study, in the youngest age group, the improvement in time in range was achieved primarily by a reduction of time above range, from 2.4 fewer hours/day above 180 mg/dL, while time below 70 mg/dL was reduced by 4 minutes/day. Overnight time in range improved by 1.4 hours/night, with most of the improvements in reduction of hyperglycemia.

The proportions meeting the combined goals of less than 4% time below range and greater than 60% time in range rose from 29% to 65%.

There were no episodes of severe hypoglycemia or diabetic ketoacidosis during the 3-month study phase.

Another important related metric, sleep quality for parents/caregivers, also improved. The percentage reporting overall sleep quality of “very good” or “fairly good” increased from 65% at baseline to 90% with Omnipod 5, while “very bad” sleep quality fell from 8.8% to 0%.

All 80 patients completed the study and elected to continue in a 12-month extension phase.

Ongoing Benefit Seen in Older Children and Adults

In a late-breaking poster presented on June 25, Anders L. Carlson, MD, medical director at the International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet, Minneapolis, Minnesota, presented more follow-up data to the previously reported 3-month pivotal study, including 108 older children and 109 adults from the original study. 

A1c remained lower after 6 months than at baseline for both children and adults (P < .001). In the children, A1c levels weren’t significantly different at the end of 6 versus 3 months, while in the adults there was an additional 0.1 percentage point decrease (P < .01).

There was one episode of diabetic ketoacidosis and no severe hypoglycemic episodes in the 3-month extension. “Sustained reduction of A1c indicates the potential long-term benefit of the Omnipod 5 System,” Carlson and colleagues concluded.

Reduced Diabetes Distress, Dont Forget Parents Quality of Life

Meanwhile, psychologist Korey K. Hood, PhD, of Stanford University, California, presented quality of life data at the meeting for 83 children aged 6-11.9 years and 42 teens aged 12-17.9 years using the Omnipod 5 from the larger study population and their parents.

Significant improvements were seen for both the youth and their caregivers in the Problem Areas in Diabetes score, a measure of diabetes-related emotional distress. Changes were less dramatic on the Hypoglycemic Confidence Scale, although improvements were significant for the caregivers of the younger children.

“We know this is a group that is really worried about hypoglycemia across a lot of situations, not just sleep but also school and outside of the home. So, to increase their confidence to this extent I think is a pretty important finding,” Hood commented.

There were nonsignificant trends in improvement across groups on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, but overall sleep quality did significantly improve among parents of the younger children. And on the World Health Organization-5 quality of life survey, significant improvements again were seen among the caregivers of young children.

“Reduced diabetes distress and improved quality of life are key benefits of using the Omnipod 5 [automated insulin delivery] system that are complementary to the glycemic benefits achieved,” Hood said.

Jacobsen has reported no relevant financial relationships. Sherr has reported being an advisor for, consultant for, and/or grant recipient from Bigfoot Biomedical, Cecelia Health, Insulet, Medtronic Diabetes, Eli Lilly, Lexicon, Sanofi, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Hood has reported being a consultant for Cecelia Health, Havas, and Cercacor.

ADA 2021. Presented June 26, 2021. Abstracts 70-OR, 71-OR.

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