Have you heard? I've started a separate blog,
The Sugar Sharks, all about our life with Type I Diabetes.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Artificial pancreas?

JDRF announced a couple of weeks ago that they were partnering with Animas to develop the first artificial pancreas.   This has been a hot topic among diabetic communities online ever since their announcement, but I wanted to share it here for those who aren't involved in those communities.   From the JDRF press release (emphasis mine):
The first-generation system would be partially automated, utilizing an insulin pump connected wirelessly with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). The CGM continuously reads glucose levels through a sensor with a hair-thin sensor wire inserted just below the skin, typically on the abdomen.  The sensor would transmit those readings to the insulin pump, which delivers insulin through a small tube or patch on the body.  The pump would house a sophisticated computer program that will address safety concerns during the day and night, by helping prevent hypoglycemia and extreme hyperglycemia.  It would slow or stop insulin delivery if it detected blood sugar was going too low and would increase insulin delivery if blood sugar was too high.  For example, the system would automatically discontinue insulin delivery to help prevent hypoglycemia, and then automatically resume insulin delivery based on a specific time interval (i.e., 2 hours) and/or glucose concentration.  It will also automatically increase insulin delivery to reduce the amount of time spent in the hyperglycemic range and return to a pre-set basal rate once glucose concentrations have returned to acceptable levels.
If you're not familiar with the terms, the CGM and pump already are commonly used.   However, the CGM currently can be used just to monitor blood glucose levels... it still requires a human to read it, calculate the dosages, and program those into the pump numerous times each day.  It's the automation of the process-- that the sensor and pump might work without human calculations-- that's the breakthrough.

Honestly, the idea gives me chills.   To imagine that my daughter might one day have a sensor to correct her blood sugar automatically 24/7.... just, wow.   I know better than to get my hopes up too high, of course, but the $8 million slated for this project has to be a step in the right direction, right?   I'll be praying for this project!

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