Artificial pancreas partly developed at UVa could mean end to finger-pricking
A new artificial pancreas system is more effective at controlling blood sugar for those with Type 1 Diabetes than existing treatments and could mean and end to finger-pricking for Type 1 patients who use the device, according to a study spearheaded by University of Virginia researchers.
The artificial pancreas system, also known as closed-loop control, is made up of an app and an implanted insulin pump; they calculate proper levels of blood sugar and deliver insulin automatically. The system means that people with Type 1 Diabetes don't have to prick their fingers to measure their blood sugar or inject themselves daily with insulin. Type 1 Diabetes is a condition that means a person's pancreas produces little to no insulin.
"It automates insulin delivery," said Boris Kovatchev, director of UVa's Center for Diabetes Technology. "That's the major feature [of the system]."
Sue Brown, an endocrinologist at UVa, said researchers found the system worked effectively overnight. When participants woke up after beginning use, their blood sugar was in the target range 90% of the time.
Overall, Brown said the system helped participants keep their blood sugar within a target range better than the control group, which used an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor.
"That can be challenging to do for individuals with Type 1 Diabetes," Brown said of controlling blood sugar. "... [The system] will ease that daily burden of constantly monitoring blood sugar."
Brown said the artificial pancreas combines the pump and monitor and make them talk to each other.
However, those who have the device will still need to interact with it, watch their meals and deliver an insulin injection before a meal.
Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from various forms of diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only about 5% of people with diabetes have Type 1, which is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction. Currently, no one knows how to prevent or cure Type 1 diabetes.
UVa researchers developed the algorithm that Brown said is the "brains behind" the artificial pancreas, while a private company created the pump and monitor. That algorithm monitors glucose levels, projects future levels and then adjusts the amount of insulin released.
Tandem Diabetes Care, a company that is taking the device to market, has submitted the results to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provided funded for the study. Kovatchev also thanked UVa for its support in creating the infrastructure that made the research possible.
There may be new hope for those suffering from Type 1 diabetes thanks to a high tech artificial pancreas that is being developed at the University of Virginia The insulin pump better controls blood sugar
An Israeli research team announced on Wednesday their claim to have developed a cure for diabetes in the form of an artificial pancreas, according to media reports. "This is a new way to treat diabetes," the
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