Case Study:Fractyl’s Revita Application Transforms Type 2 Diabetes Treatment
Medical technology company Fractyl manufactures surgical devices and the firmware and software that control them. When the company was in the research and development phase of an experimental technique to surgically treat patients with Type 2 diabetes, it enlisted the help of BlueMetal, a division of Insight.
Simplifying treatment of an epidemic
Type 2 diabetes patients are required to stick themselves with needles multiple times a day to check their blood glucose and inject insulin. They also must adhere to strict dietary requirements. Globally, it’s estimated that more than 3 million people die each year from consequences related to high blood sugar, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO further predicts diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.
Fractyl’s experimental procedure, Revita, involves inserting a catheter into a patient’s gastrointestinal tract so that a balloon device can be guided to the patient’s duodenum, the upper small intestine, under the direction of a surgical team. This balloon can correct glucose control and insulin resistance.
Fractyl had developed a prototype of this device, the firmware system to control it, and a Windows application to connect the firmware command bus to a touch-screen user interface. For clinical trials, the prototype needed to be rapidly adapted to a surgical setting — on touch screens, in sterile operating rooms, operated by surgeons with latex gloves.
Revita’s widespread impact
Powered by Microsoft software and BlueMetal’s custom application, Fractyl’s device and procedure could have significant impact on the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for approximately 90% of all cases (more than 300 million people around the world), reports ScienceDaily.
This development could have an astronomical impact on both the patient experience and the cost of traditional diabetes care. The public health benefits could be massive: a proven safe and effective treatment that could help end a global epidemic. Quite simply, a procedure lasting about an hour now has the potential to change lives around the world.
Maintaining surgical control
Fractyl had already built a firmware solution based on the Modbus communication protocol. So, when the company was ready for this next stage of development, it made partnering with someone who had certified, deep expertise with Microsoft a priority. Time and quality were critical because of the scheduled clinical trials in South America and Europe. BlueMetal had experience building customized modern applications on Windows-based platforms.
Our task at BlueMetal was to develop a new version of the Revita Windows application for Fractyl’s clinical trials based on the existing design — a production-quality Windows user application built on the Windows Presentation Foundation. The end result was a touch-screen interface that allows a surgical clinician to manage the whole procedure and control the device via the touch screen — without needing to have a Fractyl engineering technician on site.
By giving surgical teams the ability to manage this procedure on their own, BlueMetal and Fractyl have made it more likely that the solution will be implemented by healthcare providers around the world, thus potentially changing the lives of hundreds of millions of people.