Implantable 'artificial pancreas' could help control diabetes

2 July 2015

A new device could help people with type 1 diabetes better control their blood sugar levels, according to a report published in the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

The "artificial pancreas" would be implanted into the patient, allowing it to continuously measure a person's blood sugar level. It is then able to automatically release insulin when necessary.

Type 1 diabetes develops when a person's own immune system destroys the pancreas cells that make insulin, the hormone that converts blood sugar into energy. This means patients have to take insulin to substitute for it.

Whether they use multiple daily injections or insulin pump therapy, the individual has to actively track glucose and calculate the needed insulin dose. 

The team wanted to find a way to make monitoring and insulin delivery automatic and needle-free so they designed an algorithm that monitors blood sugar levels and computes an insulin dose, which is delivered quickly and automatically when necessary. 

Their algorithm is designed to work with implanted devices, specifically with an artificial pancreas. Initial tests found that it was able to maintain blood glucose within the target range nearly 80 per cent of the time. 

Posted by Edward Bartel

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