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The artificial pancreas gets its first U.S. outpatient test drive

September 4, 2012 in News

Justin Wood, a 40-year-old diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 28 years ago, recently became the first person enrolled in a clinical trial to try out a newly-developed artificial pancreas outside of the hospital. The device, developed by the multinational Artificial Pancreas Project supported by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, is a handheld device that ties a reconfigured smartphone into a patient’s insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

Since the handheld device can monitor both the pump and the CGM, a lot of the monitoring and maintenance of blood sugar levels routine for type 1 diabetics can be automated. The device can also make the process of estimating food consumption, especially carbohydrate consumption, more streamlined.

Wood reported being very impressed with the device interface, and described the interface as “very slick and very fast.” He currently has to check his blood sugar with a finger stick three to five times per day; using the new artificial pancreas, he estimated he could cut the number of tests down to no more than two per day, and also save a lot of the time he usually spends tracking and monitoring his blood sugar levels.

Wood described the artificial pancreas as “a step forward in technology that could change my view and outlook on life.”

Previously, the artificial pancreas has been tested strictly on an inpatient basis, but the FDA has given the go-ahead for the UVA research team to begin enrollment for the outpatient clinical trial. Teams at UVA and three other sites plan to recruit 120 patients with type 1 diabetes to try the artificial pancreas.

If you’d like to read more about the Artificial Pancreas Project, their website can be found at http://www.artificialpancreasproject.com/

The original news report can be accessed through ScienceDaily.



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