The JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each year. With a total shutdown of insulin production, this illness requires regular testing and injections.  The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is working on the Artificial Pancreas Project in conjunction with Universities worldwide.  A conventional insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM ) are implanted in the patient; the pump subcutaneously releases insulin through the day while the CGM checks blood sugar levels. This alone would still require regular checking and adjustment of the pump’s output and careful monitoring of diet.  The second component is basically an app that controls the pump and meter. It is possible to read and monitor levels and enter in dietary habits to automate the process of monitoring and adjusting insulin levels.  The app is currently running on Sony Xperia, and whether this will continue to be just an app or a dedicated device is unknown. This probably won’t completely eliminate having to do manual blood sugar tests, but will certainly reduce the number required each day.

While still in its early days, it looks like a promising project for Type 1 diabetics.  It’s in limited trials at the moment and, researchers plan to enroll a total of 120 patients over the next year or so.

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