Hannas Dream For A Cure E-Newsletter

Artificial Pancreas On The Horizon

For millions of diabetes patients worldwide, life is a series of finger sticks, injections, pump site changes, carbohydrate counts, and surges and dips in blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that tight blood sugar control significantly reduces the risk of complications. However, the majority of those with diabetes are not achieving the necessary reductions in blood sugar fluctuations.artificial pancreas

There is hope on the horizon. The artificial pancreas is designed to automatically regulate a person’s blood sugar. This man-made organ would consist of three parts:

  1. a sensor that continuously monitors blood sugar levels;
  2. an insulin infusion pump;
  3. a computer algorithm that regulates insulin delivery based on measured blood sugar. Each of these components must work perfectly in synch.

Furthest along is the development of an insulin pump, a major step forward. The small cell-phone sized device is implanted under the skin of the abdomen, from where it delivers insulin to the body. Several brands are on the market, and experience has shown that those lucky enough to have a pump have achieved dramatic improvements in their glucose control.

medtronics insulin pump

Medtronics Insulin Pump:
Pumps continuously deliver insulin in small doses around the clock in small doses, like a real pancreas. and with the push of a few buttons, deliver required on-demand insulin doses at meal times.
Benefits include improved glucose control and major life-style advantages.
Their biggest disadvantage is their enormous cost.

The biggest obstacle to-date has been the development of a foolproof and accurate glucose sensor, and the linking of the three components. About two dozen research labs are developing glucose sensors. The few currently on the market enable constant monitoring and provide warnings when glucose levels are too high or too low. They are being perfected; and are not fully integrated with pumps. Nevertheless, experts agree that it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” a functioning glucose sensor will be developed, and the artificial pancreas becomes a reality.

glucose monitor

 

CONTINUOUS GLUCOSE MONITOR:
Recently introduced and still being perfected, the glucose monitor provides life-saving warnings.

 

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