Artificial Pancreas Still ‘Several Years Away’

For many years, we have been told that an artificial pancreas is several years away. After the May 16 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Artificial Pancreas Forum, that message hasn’t changed.

However, a panel of scientists convened in New York City and said that even though the artificial pancreas is still years away, there exist today early components of it that can transform the lives of diabetics.

As reported by David Mendosa in the May 2006 issue of Diabetes Health (“JDRF Gives a Tremendous Boost to the Artificial Pancreas Project,”) the JDRF has launched an aggressive, multiyear campaign to accelerate the development and availability of continuous glucose monitoring, and eventually, an artificial pancreas, which would integrate a closed-loop mechanical system consisting of a real-time glucose sensor, a computer controller and an insulin delivery system.

Experts who participated in the JDRF forum agreed that it will take years before an artificial pancreas will be available—and affordable—for broad use by people with diabetes. During this time, technology linking the sensor with the insulin pump will be perfected. Then the closed-loop system will need to be tested outside the laboratory, in real-world settings, reviewed by the FDA for safety and effectiveness, reimbursed by insurers and recommended by doctors.

Aaron Kowalski, PhD, director of strategic research projects at JDRF, told the audience that a key component of the artificial pancreas—the continuous glucose sensor—is being used today with remarkable results.

The JDRF’s Artificial Pancreas Project includes both research and advocacy initiatives. JDRF is funding research to quantify the benefits of continuous glucose monitoring and artificial pancreas technologies for patients with type 1 and initiating efforts to speed regulatory approval and health insurance coverage of these treatments and devices.

Source: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

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