Newly Developed, Implantable “Artificial Pancreas” Described; Continuously Monitors Blood Glucose and Automatically Releases insulin As Needed

Living with Type 1 diabetes requires constant monitoring of blood sugar levels and injecting insulin daily. Now, scientists have reported, online on June 9, 2015 in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the development of an implantable "artificial pancreas" that continuously measures a person's blood glucose level and can automatically release insulin as needed. The article is titled “Design and Evaluation of a Robust PID Controller for a Fully Implantable Artificial Pancreas.” Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes, affects about 1.25 million Americans. About 200,000 of them are under 20 years old. The condition most commonly arises when a person's own immune system destroys the pancreas cells (beta cells) that make insulin, the hormone that converts blood sugar into energy. To make up for this loss of insulin production, patients must take insulin daily. Current delivery methods involve multiple daily injections or insulin pump therapy, both requiring the user to actively track glucose and calculate the needed insulin dose. There is also a significant time lag between when a dose is needed and when it can take effect. Dr. Francis J. Doyle III and colleagues from the University of California (UC) Santa Barbara and the Sansum Diabetes Institute in Santa Barbara, wanted to find a way to make monitoring and insulin delivery automatic and needle-free. The researchers designed an algorithm that monitors blood sugar levels and computes an insulin dose that it delivers quickly and automatically when necessary. The algorithm is designed to work with implanted devices, specifically with an artificial pancreas, and would overcome the delays experienced with current devices.
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