Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12 Tips for Traveling With Diabetes
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter
Latest
Popular
Top Rated
Diabetes Health Reference Charts
Type 1 Issues Archives
Print | Email | Share | Comments (1)

Research Centers Report “Encouraging Results” in Tests of Artificial Pancreases

Nov 3, 2008

Technology and the fact that every person with diabetes has a different metabolism and a different threshold of insulin tolerance make perfecting an artificial pancreas very challenging.

Even as diabetes researchers worldwide strive for total control over-or even an outright cure of-type 1 diabetes via gene therapy, altered cells, or surgical intervention, other researchers continue to press toward creation of a functional "artificial pancreas."

The goal is a machine that, like a natural pancreas, adjusts a person's glucose levels subtly and seamlessly throughout the day, free of the need for constant manual adjustments and fears of over- or under-dosing. 

The elements of an artificial pancreas are simple: You take a fail-safe insulin pump and connect it via a fail-safe communication method with a fail-safe continuous glucose monitor. When the CGM detects a too-high blood sugar level, it tells the pump to inject X mg of insulin, calculated by means of a fail-safe algorithm.

Aside from the technology, which has to be virtually perfect and isn't yet, a big drawback to the concept is that every person with diabetes has a different metabolism and a different threshold of insulin tolerance. Consequently, current CGM/insulin pump partnerships can't really "know" the exact dose a patient needs. Instead, the patient must tediously monitor readings throughout the day and manually adjust the pump dosages.

Progress is being made, however. Results of an experiment with five type 1s at the University of Virginia (with the results duplicated on three patients at the Padova University in Italy) hold out the promise that the artificial pancreas may be a big step closer to reality.

The University of Virginia scientists, led by Boris Kovatchev, an associate professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences and systems and information engineering, created a "smart program" based on an algorithm that allows for the differences in each patient's metabolism.

The resulting system, which links a very smart CGM to an insulin pump, provided "very encouraging results," said Kovatchev, who enjoys global renown for his ability to apply sophisticated computational methods to diabetes research. The system efficiently maintained each patient's blood glucose at optimum levels throughout the day and achieved excellent overnight control with no incidences of hypoglycemia.

The two universities are among seven sites worldwide where the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is funding research into advanced algorithms for controlling blood glucose levels that could lead to a workable artificial pancreas.


Categories: Artificial Pancreas, Blood Glucose, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Insulin Pumps, Islet & Pancreas Transplant, Low Blood Sugar, Type 1 Issues



You May Also Be Interested In...


Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Nov 3, 2008

©1991-2014 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.