The Mount Sinai Health System recently published some exciting news for adults with type 1 diabetes. Carol Levy, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center, has been at the forefront of clinical trials for an artificial pancreas, also known as a closed loop system. In this article, she shares how her team has made progress in their efforts. Read on to learn more about her research and what the future holds for this revolutionary treatment.
Uses of an Artificial Pancreas
Several studies have proven that the artificial pancreas is effective in improving glucose control and relieving the burden of self-management for people with diabetes. The use of an artificial pancreas is proven to improve glucose control significantly compared to conventional insulin pump therapy, and patients experiencing diabetes have fewer episodes of hypoglycemia and high blood sugar than those using an artificial pancreas alone. Furthermore, the benefits are more apparent at night and during the day.
A single-hormone artificial pancreas is associated with an 18.5% reduction in the time spent in hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia over a 24-hour period. Another study with a dual-hormone system found similar results. Overall, the artificial pancreas is associated with a significant improvement in glucose control and reduced time in hypoglycemia. And the results were consistent across all sensitivity analyses.
Artificial Pancreas Perform Several Functions
As a small implantable device, the artificial pancreas delivers insulin automatically according to the body’s needs. It includes a chamber containing insulin-producing islet cells. The walls protect the islet cells from the body’s immune system. And an in-built pump circulates nutrients and oxygen to these cells. These benefits make the artificial pancreas the choice of many people suffering from type 1 diabetes. If it works as well as its creators claim, it will change the course of diabetes care for the better.
In spring 2019, the FDA awarded breakthrough device designations to four closed loop systems. These designations accelerate the regulatory process for innovative devices. In addition to ensuring greater access to the market for insulin-producing devices, the FDA has been working with diabetes patient groups and medical device manufacturers to help develop the artificial pancreas. But there are many questions that remain. And no single artificial pancreas is guaranteed to cure diabetes. But with research, you will find the answer to the burning question of how to replace a pancreas.
Artificial Pancreas is not a Replica Organ
While the artificial pancreas is not a replica organ, it does mimic the functions of a healthy pancreas. In other words, it replicates the insulin-releasing system that a healthy human body uses to regulate blood glucose levels. This artificial pancreas works with a closed-loop system involving a glucose monitor and an insulin pump. The artificial pancreas signals the pump to deliver the appropriate insulin dosage based on a variety of factors.
The artificial pancreas is an advancement in diabetes treatment. It can be used by people of all ages, including children and infants. It also has improved blood glucose control. Children and adults with type 1 diabetes can also use the device. It can also be used during exercise, which is another positive aspect. The NIDDK is funding clinical trials for artificial pancreas systems. The goal of the trial is to determine if this new technology can improve diabetes management and lessen the burden on patients.
Researchers have Developed a New Type of Artificial Pancreas
Researchers have developed a new type of artificial pancreas that works by communicating with a CGM patch on the skin. The CGM patch measures blood glucose levels and feeds the information to a small computer that calculates the correct insulin dose and delivers the insulin into the body. Researchers have completed a study at the University of Cambridge that is funded by the European Commission. While the artificial pancreas is still in its research stage, it is promising and will eventually help people with diabetes.
Although technology devices have helped many people with diabetes manage their condition, the progress toward full automation will be gradual. Eventually, a pancreas implanted in the abdominal cavity will be able to feed insulin directly into the bloodstream, which will help those with diabetes live healthier lives. This advancement is a significant step forward in diabetes treatment. With the right technology, the artificial pancreas can help patients with type 1 diabetes manage their disease.
Artificial Pancreas System Tracks Blood Glucose Levels
The MiniMed 670G is one such system. While it is not fully automatic, it is still one of the few artificial pancreas approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The artificial pancreas system tracks blood glucose levels through a continuous glucose monitor and automatically delivers insulin. The device also frees patients from multiple blood sugar tests daily. As it learns the patient’s body’s needs, the system adjusts its insulin dosage.