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New Steps Toward Artificial Pancreas

New Steps Toward Artificial Pancreas

Mayo and Yale researchers’ one step closer to developing a fully automated, wearable artificial pancreas…

For people suffering from type-1 diabetes, the day when medical science manages to eradicate the frequent pinprick tests and insulin injections, must feel like a dream to say the least.

But while the technology may still be a several years away from perfection, researchers presenting new concepts at the American Diabetes Association in San Diego, 24th – 28th June, have shown they are one step closer to developing an automatic and wearable, artificial pancreas.

insuline type 1 diabetes 550x401 New Steps Toward Artificial Pancreas

New Steps Towards Artifical Pancreas For Diabetics

Image Credit: Jill A. Brown, 2008.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic presented their new ‘closed-loop system’ – a small device that attaches to the body, which includes a glucose monitor, an automatic insulin pump and an on-bard CPU to calculate and dispense the required amount of insulin.

This type of system takes into consideration the impact of low-intensity physical activities that can affect blood sugar levels.

The team led by endocrinologists Yogish Kudva, M.B.B.S., and Ananda Basu, M.B.B.S., M.D., found that diabetics who engaged in light physical activity after eating maintained fairly regular blood sugar levels, however those who simple relaxed after eating had elevated blood sugar levels.

The effect of exercise on blood sugar levels after eating had not been examined until now, and the Mayo researchers are now incorporating these findings into their close-loop system. Mayo plans to start clinical trials with the system later this year.

The Mayo team is by no means the only group trying to develop automatic artificial pancreases, researchers at Yale University is well on the way to having success with its version of the artificial organ. Their version automatically regulates insulin during the night, and in trails conducted on 12 patients, was shown to much more effective than traditional insulin pumps.

The FDA is already behind such devices, releasing guidelines for how they should perform. If the development of these systems proves successful, it could only be a matter of years before we see artificial pancreases that offer more individualized precision than ever before.

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  1. Rebecca Boyle: Diabetes Researchers Report New Steps Towards the First Artificial Pancreas. Popular Science, 06/27/2011.
  2. Artificial Pancreas Being Developed to Ease Diabetes Burden. Science Daily, 06/25/2011.

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