Artificial Pancreas Tracks Two HormonesBy Humphries, Courtney; Technology Review,
Publication Date: April 26, 2010
Article discusses a system that controls the blood sugar of patients with type 1 diabetes by monitoring both insulin and the hormone glucagon. Glucagon helps prevent blood sugar levels from dropping too low if too much insulin is given, and although diabetics do produce glucagon, it does not always function properly. The system, under development by scientists at Boston University and Massachusetts General Hospital, combines an insulin pump with blood sugar and glucagon monitors. The system was tested in 11 adults with type 1 diabetes for a period of 27 hours, during which participants ate 3 high-carbohydrate meals while direct blood sugar readings were taken every 5 minutes. Software then calculated the amount of insulin and glucagon needed. For 5 of the participants, who experienced hypoglycemia, the parameters of the system were adjusted to match a slower insulin absorption rate, after which those participants were retested. The system was then able to keep the blood sugar levels of all participants under control. A further trial of the device is planned using an FDA approved continuous glucose monitor and an automated system for delivering the hormones. The 2-day trial will compare the dual hormone system with a system using insulin only and include a period of exercise.
Published by: Technology Review, Inc. (Website:http://www.technologyreview.com)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Web Site: http://www.mit.edu )
Link to text: http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/25177/?nlid=2927&a=f