San Diego company develops new insulin pump - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego company develops new insulin pump

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Every year, 150 children in San Diego are diagnosed with type-1-diabetes, but thanks to money raised at walks like the one in Balboa Park this Saturday, researchers are closer than ever before to finding a cure.

In type-1-diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that's needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy necessary for daily life.

This is different from type-2-diabetes, which is often caused by a poor diet and the body produces too much insulin.

Samantha Ecks knew something was not right that summer between 5th and 6th grade when she was diagnosed with type-1-diabetes.

“I started losing a lot of weight. I was drinking a lot of water. You get no breaks. No Christmas breaks. No Thanksgiving breaks. No Halloween breaks,” she said.

After living five years with her diagnosis, Samantha’s life is now a lot closer to normal thanks to a device from a San Diego Company.

The device is an insulin pump.

“The screen tells me the insulin I have in my body right now, and how long it’s going to stay in my body. Then, it also tells me how much insulin is in the cartridges. It’s pumped into my body through this tubing,” explained Ecks.

Jim Berkebile is the senior director of marketing at Tandem Diabetes Care, the company that makes Samantha’s insulin pump.

Berkebile knows first-hand the product works because he uses it too.

“There’s a lot of really incredible research taking place right now in San Diego,” he said.

Tandem is one of several companies and organizations in San Diego that receives money from JDRF, which pumps about $10 million a year into our economy to fight type-1-diabetes.

"The primary thing it does is it alleviates the burden of having to take multiple daily injections of insulin. Instead, you're able to get a continuous delivery of insulin which is far closer to the physiology of a person who doesn't live with diabetes,” said Berkebile.

On Saturday, the JDRF Walk will take pace in Balboa Park with a goal to raise over $650,000.

“The idea is to create awareness, raise funds for research. The JDRF has been phenomenal as far as channeling research dollars to find a cure and better people's lives with this disease,” said Berkebile.

CBS News 8’s Carlo Ceccheto will emcee Saturday's walk.

It's not too late to sign up and participate in Saturday's walk or to donate

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