The Diabetes tech timeline - insulin pump timeline

Posted by I'm thediabeticsurvivor on

With the current hype about CGM (cgm continuous glucose monitoring), I decided last month to do some research around key dates of diabetes technology and diabetes in general.  


As a visual person with diabetes type 1 myself, this Diabetes tech timeline is my first attempt to put on paper some of the several important discoveries starting with the development of a copper reagent for urine glucose by Benedict. Hopefully, to pin down some key dates and have a more visual representation of diabetes research. This is not by any means, an official refined timeline. Actually, through my many searches on Google, diabetes publications and a wide selection of books of diabetes I encountered some contradictions in terms of dates.

If you have found any discrepancies, have any important data, or you just want to say hi, please write to hello@thediabeticsurvivor.com 🙂


The Diabetes Technology Timeline

Recommended books 

Diabetes a history of race & disease

Who is considered most at risk for diabetes, and why? In this thorough, engaging book, historian Arleen Tuchman examines and critiques how these questions have been answered by both the public and medical communities for over a century in the United States.


The discovery of Insulin

When insulin was discovered in the early 1920s, even jaded professionals marveled at how it brought starved, sometimes comatose diabetics back to life. In the twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of a classic, Michael Bliss unearths scientists' memoirs and confidential appraisals of insulin by members of the Nobel Committee. he also resolves a longstanding controversy about scientific collaboration at its most fractious and fascinating: who ultimately deserves credit for the discovery? Bliss's life-and-death saga illuminates one of the most important breakthroughs in the history of medicine.


Key dates

1908 - Benedict developed a copper reagent for urine glucose.

1921 - Frederick Banting and Charles H. Best discovered the hormone insulin in pancreatic extracts of dogs.

1963 - The first insulin pump was developed by Dr Arnold Kadish. It delivered both glucagon and insulin (only available for clinical use).

1965 - Ames developed the first blood glucose test strip, the Dextrostix, using glucose oxidase.

1971 - Glucose meter patent by Anton Hubert Clemens for commercial purposes.

1976 - Insulin pump - A more wearable version was later devised by Dean Kamen (portable infusion pump). Kamen formed a company called "AutoSyringe" to market the product, which he sold to Baxter Healthcare in 1981. The pump known as the “Big Blue Brick” was marketed in 1978.

1976 - CGM? - First commercial closed-loop bedside device in 1974-1976, the Biostator created by Miles Laboratories (about $55,000 in 1982). The patient was confined to a bed or a chair, the machine checked glucose levels and needed constant supervision to recalibrate the glucose (also delivered insulin). This was the first closed-loop system!

1979 - Tamborlane and Sherwin designed a battery-operated SC insulin pump.

1979 - The glucose kinetics model by Bergman and Cobelli.

1983 - First commercial insulin pump MiniMed 502.

1999 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first “professional” CGM, with which the patient was blinded to glucose data collected for 3 days, the MiniMed by Medtronic.



Development and Evaluation of a Glucose Analyzer for a Glucose Controlled Insulin Infusion System (Biostator) (https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f8e1/ace60cae8d544f4cceae4f4d9d407a7c9ae0.pdf)

Diabetes: The Biography by Robert Tattersall (p151-152) (https://academic.oup.com/shm/article-abstract/24/3/835/1645976)

From pancreatic extracts to artificial pancreas: History, science and controversies about the discovery of the pancreatic antidiabetic hormone - Edition Jan-Feb 2011 (https://www.elsevier.es/es-revista-avances-diabetologia-326-articulo-from-pancreatic-extracts-artificial-pancreas-S1134323011700059)

Inflammatory Response to Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion Systems and the Effect on Insulin Absorption submitted by Dipl. Ing. Jasmin Renée Hauzenberger, BSc. - Department of Internal Medicine Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology 2017 (https://online.medunigraz.at/mug_online/wbabs.getDocument?pThesisNr=53525&pAutorNr=84246&pOrgNR=1)

The Discovery of Insulin: An Important Milestone in the History of Medicine - Frontiers in Endocrinology - Oct 23 2018  (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6205949/

The history of insulin pumps, Diabetes Support Forum UK (https://www.diabetes-support.org.uk/info/?p=287