Skip to comments.Doctors make progress toward ‘artificial pancreas’
Posted on 06/23/2013 5:28:26 AM PDT by Olog-hai
Doctors are reporting a major step toward an artificial pancreas, a device that would constantly monitor blood sugar in people with diabetes and automatically supply insulin as needed.
A key component of such a systeman insulin pump programmed to shut down if blood sugar dips too low while people are sleepingworked as intended in a three-month study of 247 patients.
This smart pump, made by Minneapolis-based Medtronic Inc., is already sold in Europe, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing it now. Whether it also can be programmed to mimic a real pancreas and constantly adjust insulin based on continuous readings from a blood-sugar monitor requires more testing, but doctors say the new study suggests thats a realistic goal.
This is the first step in the development of the artificial pancreas, said Dr. Richard Bergenstal, diabetes chief at Park Nicollet, a large clinic in St. Louis Park, Minn. Before, we said its a dream. We have the first part of it now and I really think it will be developed.
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Of course, this would only help type 1 diabetics.
The problem with Type II diabetics is insulin insensitivity. We don’t have enough insulin receptors. So it doesn’t matter how much insulin your pancreas is producing if the insulin can’t get into the cells where it’s needed to do the work.
Now, if they could only come up with a way of making cells use insulin for making energy instead of storing fat in type 2 diabetics.