Imagine that you have Type 1 diabetes and you're on a first date and need to check your blood sugar, but you're not ready to talk to your date about your disease.

If you had the OneTouch Ping Glucose Management System from Animas (West Chester, Pennsylvania) and LifeScan (Milpitas, California), both Johnson & Johnson (J&J; New Brunswick, New Jersey) companies, you could keep your pump clipped discreetly under your clothing and use the OneTouch Ping meter-remote to calculate insulin doses and opt to wirelessly instruct the pump to deliver them without touching the pump at all.

That's one example Melissa Katz, a spokeswoman for Animas, used to tell Medical Device Daily what sets the OneTouch Ping apart from other glucose management systems on the market. Yesterday the company reported FDA clearance of the device, which it says is the first full-feature insulin pump that wirelessly communicates with a blood glucose meter-remote.

"We're always trying to think about how can we make the life of somebody who uses this pump easier," Katz said. "There are a lot of people who work here who use the pump too, so they're giving us their advice as well."

Katz also provided an example of a mother at a birthday party with her child who has diabetes and she's trying to catch him to check his pump. Because the OneTouch system is wireless up to 10 feet, the mother could use the meter-remote to instruct her child's pump to deliver insulin while he is still playing with the other children.

"OneTouch Ping provides patients the advanced insulin pump technology from Animas plus the OneTouch blood glucose technology they trust, put together into a system that offers the discretion, convenience and option of remote insulin dosing," said Juan Frias, MD, chief medical officer and VP of medical affairs at Animas. "People using OneTouch Ping will no longer have to access their pump to deliver a bolus, ultimately making life with diabetes a little easier."

While the wireless capability is a definite advantage, Katz said the OneTouch Ping meter-remote and the pump also work independently. So, for example, if you get on an airplane and forget your meter you can still use the pump, she said.

The company said OneTouch Ping also is the first integrated product from two companies within the diabetes care group of J&J, Animas and LifeScan, makers of the OneTouch brand of glucose meters and OneTouch Ultra test strips.

Katz said that OneTouch Ping also is waterproof up to 12 feet for 24 hours and has a color screen for better pump readability. The device also offers individualized control and delivers the lowest basal increments (0.025 U/hr) and lowest bolus increments (0.05 U) available to more precisely match patient insulin needs, the company noted.

The OneTouch Ping system will also work with the recently cleared ezManager MAX diabetes management software designed to allow users to download important diabetes management data from the insulin pump and meter-remote, Animas said. Integrated blood glucose data from the meter-remote and insulin dosing data may be downloaded for review, analysis and evaluation of insulin delivery and blood glucose history to better inform healthcare decision-making. The ezManager MAX software is Mac- and PC-compatible, the company said.

Katz said the OneTouch Ping system will be available for shipment in mid-August but the company is already taking orders.

In addition to the OneTouch Ping glucose management system, Animas offers the Animas 2020 insulin pump, Inset 30 infusion set, and ezManager MAX software.

The name of the device brings to mind a similar diabetes tool, the OneTouch UltraLink meter, from Medtronic (Minneapolis), which won FDA clearance in the spring (Medical Device Daily, April 29, 2008). Medtronic's device is designed to transmit glucose readings directly to its MiniMed Paradigm insulin pumps and the Guardian Real-Time Continuous Glucose Monitoring System.

Medtronic signed an agreement last year with LifeScan to distribute and co-market new blood glucose meters to be developed by LifeScan for Medtronic patients using the OneTouch platform (MDD, Aug. 23, 2007).