Artificial Pancreas Gets a Boost

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While the idea of an artificial pancreas has been discussed before, the idea has now moved past a strong potential to actual development. The new treatment is being called “revolutionary”.

According to, “The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation announced an innovative partnership with Animas Corporation to develop an automated system to help people with type 1 diabetes better control their disease – the first step on the path to what would be among the most revolutionary advancements in treating type 1 diabetes: the development of an artificial pancreas, a fully automated system to dispense insulin to patients based on real-time changes in blood sugar levels.”

As stated in an earlier report this device can allow Type 1 diabetics profound freedom because data is being sent wirelessly to compensate for blood sugar changes in the diabetic.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation said, “The objectives of the partnership, a major industry initiative within the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project, are to develop an automated system to manage diabetes, conduct extensive clinical trials for safety and efficacy, and submit the product to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval.”

The Animas Corporation is owned by Johnson & Johnson. The company has been promised $8 million over 3 years for the development of this product. Alan Lewis, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of JDRF said, “Ultimately, an artificial pancreas will deliver insulin as needed, minute-by-minute, throughout the day to maintain blood sugars within a target range. But even this early system could bring dramatic changes in the quality of life for the 3 million people in the U.S. with type 1 diabetes, beginning to free kids and adults from testing, calculating and treating themselves throughout the day.” reports, “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.”

It is anticipated that first generation devices would still require input from diabetes patients to administer needed doses. Presumably this is intended to provide a human element to the insulin distribution. It is also presumed that at some point the device will be approved to make the changes on its own to allow the greatest amount of freedom to the more than 3 million Type 1 diabetics in the United States. adds, “The JDRF-Animas partnership will build upon the progress made since 2006 in the JDRF-funded Artificial Pancreas Consortium, a group of university-based mathematicians, engineers, and diabetes experts that has developed the computer programs needed for an artificial pancreas, and established their scientific feasibility.”

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