Diabetes Dialogue: The Prospect of a Bionic Pancreas, with Steven Russell, MD, PhD

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In this episode of Diabetes Dialogue, hosts Diana Isaacs, PharmD, and Natalie Bellini, DNP, are joined by Steven Russell, MD, PhD, the chief medical officer of Beta Bionics, for a discussion around his journey to becoming CMO as well as a deep dive into the iLet Bionic Pancreas and its potential in diabetes management.

Since the advent of insulin pumps, the diabetes community has dreamed of the day a bionic pancreas might alleviate the burden of diabetes. Although not yet a reality, multiple companies and groups have launched efforts to achieve this dream, but few have come as close as Beta Bionics, which is currently developing the iLet Bionic Pancreas system.

A pocket-sized, wearable investigational medical device, excitement and anticipation around the iLet Bionic Pancreas has grown with every release of new data and every passing meeting. In a recent statement, Beta Bionics announced Steven Russell, MD, PhD, a luminary in the field of diabetes and diabetes technology, had been appointed as their Chief Medical Officer as the company looks to further advance the technology and bring it to market.

"As we move closer to commercial launch of the iLet Bionic Pancreas, we have strategically added a wealth of knowledge and experience to our executive team," explained Sean Saint, president and CEO of Beta Bionics, in the January 4, in a statement. "Dr. Russell is one of the foremost thought leaders in the field of diabetes technology, and I have turned to him often over the years for his expertise and perspective. His experience with the bionic pancreas in a clinical setting is second to none. There is no better person we could have for our Chief Medical Officer as we complete the regulatory review process and prepare for the US launch of the iLet."

An Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, Russell boasts more than 20 years of experience in management of diabetes. The director of multiple trials involving the bionic pancreas, Russell has been the lead investigators on more than a dozen studies in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

"The bionic pancreas project has been the focus of my professional life for many years. Until the completion of the pivotal trial, I felt I was able to bring the most value to the project as an academic physician, providing advice and executing clinical trials," Russell said. "Now that the pivotal trial is complete, I think my contributions will be most impactful by providing medical leadership within Beta Bionics as we work to obtain FDA clearance and prepare for the launch of the iLet. I am excited to be part of an all-star team and look forward to supporting people with diabetes and healthcare providers as the iLet emerges from the research setting into clinical use."

At the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ADCES) 2nd annual Diabetes Technology Conference, Diana Isaacs, PharmD, an endocrine clinical pharmacy specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, and Natalie Bellini, DNP, an endocrine nurse practitioner with R&B Medical Group, the hosts of Diabetes Dialogue: Technology, Therapeutics, and Real-World Perspectives, sat down with Russell to explore his role and take a deep dive into the development of the iLet Bionic Pancreas system.

All episodes of Diabetes Dialogue: Technology, Therapeutics, & Real-World Perspectives is available in an audio-only format on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.