Artificial pancreas for Type 1 diabetics may be closer

A victory in this perpetual Battle of Stalingrad? Three universities, plus Dublin-based Medtronic, are developing devices that may bring a commercial artificial pancreas for Type 1 diabetics to market within the next few years. Medtronic is estimating that their system could be in market by 2017. The University of Virginia‘s Center for Diabetes Technology has a final clinical trial this summer on the inControl system which is being commercialized by start-up company TypeZero Technologies. Other research programs are underway at Cambridge University and Boston University, on a product that will measure both insulin and glucagon. Type 1 diabetics produce no insulin, making their lives literally dependent on close glucose monitoring and correct insulin delivery. These are “closed-loop” systems, consisting of a pump worn outside the body, a continuous glucose monitor, which measures glucose from fluid under the skin, and a device that runs continuous algorithms to determine insulin delivery. Much of this research has been funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Perhaps there will be a better and safer way soon to fight this perpetual Battle of Stalingrad for those with Type 1 diabetes. CNBC

Another ‘bionic pancreas’ in test

Another possible weapon against the Continuing Battle of Stalingrad faced by diabetics is in test in the Boston area. A system developed by associate professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University Dr. Edward Damiano (whose son has Type 1 diabetes), and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School Dr. Steven Russell has a sensor inserted under the skin that relays hormone level data to a monitoring device which sends data to an app on the user’s smartphone every five minutes. The app calculates required dosages of insulin or glucagon to maintain optimal blood sugar levels, and communicates the information to two corresponding hormone infusion pumps worn by the patient. Their target for FDA approval and rollout is 2017. Gizmag. Previously Editor Charles and this Editor have written about Diabetes Assistant and two other systems in clinical trials, which also are bringing this to a closer reality [TTA 20 Aug, 5 Aug]