"This is a solvable problem," he says. "The research can be captured and turned into products that can change people's lives."
Intermediary steps toward the ultimate goal
Researchers are also working on a "semi-closed loop system" device. Kowalski likens this intermediary step to an autopilot system—it can do most of the work, but the pilot still monitors the controls and takes over if necessary.
"We think that there are going to be a series of products that will become more and more sophisticated," he says. The semi-closed loop system is "very near-term," he says, and will likely get quick FDA approval. He also thinks there is enough evidence to support the device so that, once it is developed, payers will cover it.
Although the ultimate goal is to find a cure for any disease or condition, including diabetes, these near-term advances will serve as bridges until then. "These intermediary steps are important while we fight to get to the end of the disease—to a cure. When you're living with a condition, you want something now . . . even if it's not perfect."
You can read about more medical breakthroughs in this month's cover story,Medical Breakthroughs That Will Change Healthcare: The devices, treatments, and procedures that will change the delivery—and the business—of healthcare.