Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Artificial Pancreas

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • On Tuesday, June 2nd, British press had a story that caught my eye.  It was an announcement for the product called the Medtronic Veo.  The Veo is an insulin pump with a continuous blood glucose sensor, but the catch is this: when a low is detected, it shuts down the flow of insulin.


    Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's pet project, the Artificial Pancreas, is a promising technology for many who require insulin injections. The Artificial Pancreas is a "closed loop" device (insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor with an algorithm that regulates glucose levels by continuously measuring the level of glucose and dispensing doses of insulin based on those measurements.  If approved by the FDA this device would almost guarantee stable control of the disease and drastically decrease complications of diabetes, such as kidney disease, heart attack and stroke, amputations, blindness and death from severe hypoglycemia.

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    But this Medtronic Veo is only part of the Artificial Pancreas project; it appears to lack the ability to add insulin when needed.  Still, it is a very impressive statement that Medtronic sees the manufacturing of the Artificial Pancreas as the next step for them! With the full algorithm in place, the device would sense both highs and lows, thus automatically dispensing more insulin for the highs, and shutting down delivery of insulin when a low is detected through the sensor.  


    The Artificial Pancreas has completed its human trial phase and is waiting for FDA approval.  We are close!  Could it be days away?!


    For those who have found the pump a bit problematic, like me, check out SmartInsulin!   I'm a huge fan and feel that SmartInsulin will be a breakthrough technology for those living with diabetes that don't do as well with an external device, or for those who have skin sensitivity to the adhesives, or lack the body fat for the pump infusion sets.  This product is not yet in human trials, but I, for one, would like to participate in the trial.  SmartInsulin is a polymer-based insulin that senses how much insulin to release to correct highs and will not release any if you are low. It is a once-a-day injection.


    I think we are in a time of technology advancement that will overwhelmingly improve the lives of people with type 1, type 2 and type 1.5, immeasurably!  It is another glass ceiling researchers are starting to crack!


Published On: June 04, 2009