The artificial pancreas is a technology in development to help people with diabetes automatically control their blood glucose level by providing the substitute endocrine functionality of a healthy pancreas.
Different approaches under consideration include:
- the medical equipment approach—using an insulin pump under closed loop control using real-time data from a continuous blood glucose sensor.
- the bioengineering approach—the development of a bio-artificial pancreas consisting of a biocompatible sheet of encapsulated beta cells. When surgically implanted, the islet sheet will behave as the endocrine pancreas and will be viable for years.
- the gene therapy approach—the therapeutic infection of a diabetic person by a genetically engineered virus which causes a DNA change of intestinal cells to become insulin-producing cells.
A biological approach to the artificial pancreas is to implant bioengineered tissue containing islet cells, or stem cells that could differentiate into such cells, which would secrete the amount of insulin, amylin, and glucagon needed in response to sensed glucose.
In September 2016 the FDA approved the Medtronic MiniMed 670G, which was the first approved hybrid closed loop system which senses a diabetic person's basal insulin requirement and automatically adjusts its delivery to the body.
As of 2017 dealing with blood sugar levels following a meal remained a challenge for the field.
Initiatives around the globeEdit
In the United States in 2006, JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) launched a multi-year initiative to help accelerate the development, regulatory approval, and acceptance of continuous glucose monitoring and artificial pancreas technology.
Grassroots efforts to create and commercialize a fully automated artificial pancreas system have also arisen directly from patient advocates and the diabetes community. Bigfoot Biomedical, a company founded by parents of children with T1D have created algorithms and are developing a closed loop device that monitor blood sugar and appropriately provide insulin.
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- Artificial Pancreas Project : JDRF
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