Artificial Pancreas Soon to Automate Insulin Trackers


What is an artificial pancreas device system?

Now here’s good news that will soon benefit patients with Type 1 diabetes – an “artificial pancreas” that will automate insulin trackers.

With this device, diabetics will be given more time to enjoy life rather than being watchful most of the time, monitoring their blood sugar levels as well as dealing with insulin injections or insulin pumps. Once this device hits the market, living with Type 1 diabetes will become easier.

What is the artificial pancreas?

The artificial pancreas isn’t really a device that you implant inside the body to replace the pancreas. It’s actually a closed-loop device composed of three systems. You have the insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitor, and an advanced-control algorithm.

The insulin pump and the continuous glucose monitor are embedded under the patient’s skin, while the advanced-control algorithm (which is a special software) will run on a smartphone.

How does it work?

The continuous glucose monitor’s sensor will gather information based on the patient’s blood sugar levels by measuring the interstitial fluid’s glucose levels. The information it gathered will then be sent by its transmitter to a receiver.

The advanced-control algorithm will receive the data gathered by the continuous glucose monitor. It will send instructions to the insulin pump on the insulin dosage the patient needs.

What makes this advanced-control algorithm special is that it “studies” the patient’s habits to regulate just how much insulin he needs. It takes into consideration his sleeping pattern, meals he’s eaten, and daily activities. By studying the patient’s daily cycle, the device refines the way insulin is administered by the insulin pump.

In a way, the artificial pancreas acts more like the patient’s pancreas. It can monitor blood sugar levels effectively and deliver insulin dosages accordingly and as needed.

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Will it work?

The 12-week trial using the artificial pancreas device system showed very positive results. 30 patients, all with Type 1 diabetes, participated in the study. They were given the artificial pancreas system and used it as they went about their regular daily routines.

At the end of the trial, measurements were taken and these showed significant improvements not only in their HbA1c levels but a reduction in their hypoglycemic state as well.

The device won’t be available in the market just yet. It still needs more tests, trials, and approvals, but once it becomes available, it will benefit Type 1 diabetics’ lives.

Artificial Pancreas performs well in clinical trial. URL Link. October 19, 2017.

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Jen is a physical therapist and freelance medical writer from the Philippines. She's a regular contributor to several health blogs, including medical cannabis sites. She left her day job in 2006 and finds it more fulfilling to work from home, be with her family, and write about topics she's passionate about (anything about the medical world!).