The world’s first artificial pancreas is expected to be ready for Type 1 Diabetes patients as soon as 2018 and could forever transform diabetes care as we know it. This artificial pancreas could one day replace an insulin pump for Type 1 diabetes patients and would automatically monitor their blood glucose levels and provide the correct amount of insulin.
It’s estimated by the American Diabetes Association that 1.25 million adults and children in the U.S. suffer from Type 1 diabetes. Currently Type 1 diabetes patients rely on two devices, one to test glucose levels and another to inject the correct insulin dose. This milestone for diabetes would eliminate painful and daily injections. The idea for the artificial pancreas is to create a single, closed loop system which would attach to clothing and automate blood sugar management. The early trials of artificial pancreases suggest that this type of system could change lives.
Medtronic has reportedly filed for FDA approval of an artificial pancreas that could hit the market as soon as 2017. Currently the trials are producing positive results for patients. The machine monitors glucose levels in five-minute intervals and shifts the amount of insulin it delivers to the patient, ensuring that they remain in their target range. The Medtronic device does still require patients to refill the insulin pump, change the sensor, and complete a finger-prick test every 12-hours.
Insulin pumps and glucose monitors each exist currently and have been inching toward the goal of a closed loop system for quite some time. This new artificial pancreas system will eliminate the stress caused by having to use these two component separately and could change the lives of Type 1 diabetes patients. We look forward to the possibilities that this type of technology can provide to patients suffering from diabetes.