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Development of Artificial Pancreas Reaches Milestones
March 23, 2012
We’ve previously reported on efforts to create an “artificial pancreas,” a device consisting of a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump that work together to prevent high or low blood glucose without requiring input from the user. JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) is funding artificial pancreas trials at 13 sites around the world, and several other studies are being funded by medical device manufacturers. This week, we’d like to give you an update regarding two milestones reached in the development of an artificial pancreas.
Successful Inpatient Trial in Adolescent
For the duration of the trial, Elle did not have to check her blood glucose levels, and she was able to eat more carbohydrate than usual at each meal. “We’re extraordinarily impatient for access to the device. I think it will revolutionize the way she lives,” her mother noted.
Russell and his research partner Edward Damiano, PhD, recently visited the offices of the Food and Drug Administration to present their prototype for an artificial pancreas, which consists of two tiny pieces that go under the skin — one to measure glucose levels and the other to administer insulin or glucagon (a drug that can raise glucose levels) — and a small device that can be carried in a pocket or clipped to a belt. The investigators are hoping to have permission for trial participants to walk the grounds of the hospital while wearing the device by the fall and to give the artificial pancreas to children attending a summer camp by the summer of 2013.
FDA Approves Artificial Pancreas for Outpatient Trial
“Conducting the first US tests of a portable artificial pancreas running on a cell phone in a real-world setting is an important step toward evaluating its effectiveness and how it may impact treatment for Type 1 diabetes patients in the United States,” notes lead researcher Boris Kovatchev, PhD.
For more information about Elle’s experience with the artificial pancreas, see the article “Artificial Pancreas Gives Girl a Vacation From Diabetes.” And to learn more about the FDA’s approval of outpatient testing of the device, read “Type 1 Diabetes: Artificial Pancreas Approved for Outpatient Testing.”
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