For people with type 1 diabetes who follow medical research, development of a closed-loop, "artificial pancreas" has always been the Holy Grail. Such a system would combine an insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitor to provide constant control of blood glucose levels. But what if such a system was only a start? What if it might work better when combined with another therapy altogether?
Insulin pump maker Animas has taken another step toward perfecting (and hopefully putting on sale) the first artificial pancreas. The company doesn't call it anything that clear-cut, instead referring to the device as "a closed-loop insulin delivery system."
The FDA has approved the start of outpatient trials of a smart phone-based monitoring device that functions as an artificial pancreas. If the device, which automatically measures blood glucose levels and adjusts them with insulin, is successful, several million type 1 patients could enjoy a whole new level of convenience.
Will the federal government kill the artificial pancreas? The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is raising the alarm over FDA guidelines that could stifle the technology necessary for the development of an artificial pancreas.
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