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JDRF Research: Artificial Pancreas – a new leap forward

I give to a charity called JDRF who do a lot of research for diabetes and finding a cure. I thought this article would be useful for people to read – fingers crossed it brings us some help:

Today Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International announced an innovative partnership with Animas Corporation to begin work on bringing an automated ‘artificial pancreas’ closer to reality for people living with type 1 diabetes.

Animas, a Johnson & Johnson company, is a leading manufacturer and distributor of insulin delivery and glucose management systems.

This major industry initiative within the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project has an ambitious set of objectives. Not only will the partnership aim to develop a ‘first generation’ partially automated system to manage type 1 diabetes and conduct extensive clinical trials for safety and efficacy, but it will also aim to submit the system for regulatory approval in the next four years.

As you know, the idea behind the Artificial Pancreas Project is to link two existing technologies, insulin pumps and continuous glucose sensors. This first generation system aims to increase the time people with type 1 spend in the ‘target’ range – avoiding hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels) and serious hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose levels).

Over the last few years, because of the generosity of supporters like you here in the UK, we have been funding research into the artificial pancreas at the University of Cambridge. This new programme of research ties into the existing JDRF Artificial Pancreas Programme, of which Roman Hovorka’s work at the University of Cambridge is an important part.  Today’s announcement is not the culmination of our efforts. It is a great development in what we hope will be a stream of research, products and technologies that will be announced over time. And, ultimately it will provide different treatment options for people with type 1.

This new programme is focused on limiting hyperglycaemia. Systems already exist to limit hypoglycaemia by shutting off insulin delivery. But to limit hyperglycaemia extra insulin must be administered – but not deliver so much that it causes glucose levels to drop too low and induce hypoglycaemia.

This partnership will begin the process of automating how people with type 1 diabetes manage their blood glucose. The ultimate goal is to have a fully automated system which can control blood glucose without input from the person using the system. But this “hypoglycaemia-hyperglycaemia minimiser” system could bring dramatic changes in the quality of life for people with type 1 diabetes like me. It would begin to free us from the constant balancing act of testing, calculating doses and treating ourselves throughout the day. It would represent a significant step forward, providing immediate benefits in terms of blood glucose control, and reducing the risk of developing long term complications of living with type 1.

JDRF will provide $8 million in funding over the next four years for this project.”