A bionic pancreas that would automatically control blood glucose levels for type 1 diabetes patients could be brought to market by late 2017.
The device is being developed by researchers at Boston University, with lead researcher Edward Damiano, PhD revealing successful results from recent outpatient studies.
Damiano reported during a presentation at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists’ (AACE) 24th Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress that in four studies, the bionic pancreas simultaneously reduced hypoglycemia and mean glucose levels.
These studies were conducted on adults, adolescents and pre-adolescents, while Damiano added the bionic pancreas would deliver mean HbA1c levels of roughly 6.5 per cent in adults and children with type 1 diabetes.
How does the bionic pancreas work?
The device consists of a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor (CGM), two Tandem t:slim infusion pumps and mathematical algorithms that make automated decisions about insulin and glucagon every five minutes based on updated CGM readings.
The two insulin pumps deliver insulin and glucagon respectively, while the algorithms run in an iPhone app. Bluetooth technology allows the pumps and the iPhone to communicate and calculate the required doses of insulin and glucagon needed.
The bionic pancreas would therefore allow type 1 diabetes patients to live their lives without stressing about management anymore. The device also eases the burden for patients during sleep, or other times when they are less able to manage their diabetes.
Damiano’s team are planning the final clinical trial later this year and aim to bring the bionic pancreas to market by late 2017.

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