A Winning Duo: Abbott Recognized for Two Breakthrough Tech Innovations

A Winning Duo: Abbott Recognized for Two Breakthrough Tech Innovations

tweet me:
Abbott earns two spots on @PopSci 2016 #BestofWhatsNew list of breakthrough #innovations http://bit.ly/2eqnoaW

Multimedia from this Release

Monday, October 24, 2016 - 7:05am


Innovation. It's been our thing since Dr. Abbott set up shop in a Chicago neighborhood more than a century ago. It’s still our thing.

But don’t take our word for it.

Ask Popular Science, which named our Absorb disappearing stent and FreeStyle Libre* glucose monitoring system – the one that saves you a routine stick of the finger – as two of its "Best of What's New" innovations in 2016.

PopSci's bottom line on these medical breakthroughs: They "transform their category, solve an unsolvable problem, and incorporate entirely new ideas and functions."

Sounds like a pretty good description to us.


Like the perfect dinner guest, the Absorb stent doesn’t overstay its welcome.

It's a first-of-its-kind evolution of the traditional metal stent, used where you don't need a permanent implant to treat a temporary problem. Quickly, here's how Absorb works:

  • It performs in the same way as its metal counterpart to clear blockage in a blood vessel.
  • Because it's made from materials similar to dissolving sutures, it leaves the body completely** and naturally once it has done that job, leaving an artery that can function naturally.

Phyllis Camp, the first person in the United States to receive Absorb, can testify to Absorb’s effectiveness.

Camp lives in Saltillo, Miss., with her husband Ted, who comes from a long family history of heart problems. Throughout their marriage, Phyllis has been diligent about keeping Ted healthy.

What she didn't see coming was her own debilitating heart attack in 2010 that left her with two metal stents in her arteries. When she told her cardiologist she was having chest pain again in December of 2012, they found that she had another blockage.

This time, she had an option that wouldn’t involve inserting a foreign metal object into her body. And three years after the Absorb stent did its job, it would be gone.

"I haven’t had any additional chest pain," Camp said. "I work in my flower garden. I go to work. I have been blessed to have the life I have."

Camp feels good. And that makes us feel good.

"Absorb is a great example of our passion for helping people live healthier lives," said Chuck Simonton, chief medical officer, Abbott Vascular, of the one-of-kind device. "It's been an honor to be part of this revolution in treating heart disease."


To take better care of yourself, what if it meant that you had to do something that you might find painful, just a little, every day?

And truly, to take the best care of yourself, you had to do this often, like four times a day? Or more?

That’s the reality of people with diabetes who monitor their glucose levels multiple times a day with a prick of the finger.

Stick. Measure. Stick. Measure. Stick. Measure. Throughout the day and night.

Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre, not yet available in the United States, was designed to solve this problem: Could researchers create a better tool for people living with diabetes to monitor their glucose levels around the clock while eliminating the dread of the finger stick and increase their chances for a better outcome?

“One of the key elements of the FreeStyle Libre development process was keeping the patient at the core of all steps, making sure that everything was designed with them in mind,” said Marc Taub, senior director of Diabetes Research and Development, Abbott.

Jen Grieves, a digital producer for the BBC in England who blogs about her Type 1, is exactly the kind of patient Abbott’s researchers had in mind.

She has incorporated FreeStyle Libre into her life at different times, coming back to the device in May after a break.

"So on went the Libre, and in came the data – which was an absolute undeniable saviour on the day I spent 15 hours cycling up the many mountains of the North of England," Grieves wrote on her blog. "Using the Libre was as eye-opening and as useful and as brilliant as I remembered. HOORAY."

Her FreeStyle Libre sensor, which is designed to be easily covered by clothing, is designed to measure glucose levels every minute of the day for up to 14 days. To check her glucose levels are and where they’re going, Grieves swipes a small monitor over her sensor. The easily-downloadable data provides a full picture, keeping Grieves and her doctor informed.

"We are in a new, human-centered chapter of glucose monitoring," said Joel Goldsmith, director of New Product Innovation, Abbott.

Taub agrees. He’s seen it first-hand.

"Seeing people apply the device, seeing them realize how easy it is, how pain-free it is, has been truly a very satisfying process," said Taub.


Each year, Popular Science reviews thousands of new products and innovations to choose winners across 10 categories. Only 100 new products/technologies in the U.S. are selected out of thousands of applicants each year. Abbott’s are featured in the Health category for the impact they’ve had on people with diabetes and heart disease around the world.

To win the award, products and technologies had to represent significant steps forward in their industries – strides Abbott has been making consistently for more than 125 years. Our breakthrough inventions mean people can redefine their "possible"— and reach their true potential.

*The FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System is pending PMA approval and not available for sale in the United States.

**Absorb dissolves except for two pairs of tiny metallic markers that remain in the artery to enable a physician to see where the device was placed.

Want to learn more about Absorb? Check out these additional resources: