Health

An Artificial Pancreas Could Be On Its Way To Help Those With Type 1 Diabetes

The system connects to a smartphone app to automate glucose tests and insulin delivery. Technology is incredible.

A breakthrough has been found in the effort to help those living with type 1 diabetes.

The University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories recently published a literature review in the journal Diabetologia, which shows an artificial pancreas is a promising means of helping patients. There are a dozen different examples where an artificial pancreas has helped to manage the insulin levels of those suffering from the disease.

This, of course, is not a cure. It definitely is a step in the right direction as far as making life with type 1 diabetes more manageable, though.

The artificial pancreas isn’t a replacement organ, but something that works with the existing organs to issue insulin automatically. As Mental Floss explains: “It’s a closed-loop system of blood glucose monitoring and insulin delivery, controlled by a special smartphone app, which can essentially take over the job of the pancreas.”

As the leading type 1 diabetes organization JDRF explains, this will make the daily lives of type 1 diabetes patients so much easier because what used to have to be done manually can be done automatically.

Of course, the patient will still have to monitor what they eat and adjust the insulin rates accordingly. However, that’s so much easier than having to inject insulin in the form of a shot.

“So you have the patient who still has to do all the calculations themselves and to manually give a bolus [a dose of medicine] depending on what they eat, and adjust the infusion rate if they’re going low or increase it if they’re sick,” study author Hood Thabit, a diabetologist, told Mental Floss.

The research on whether this could be used to treat those with pancreatic diseases like pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer seems thus far limited and mixed. Fortune reports that the artificial pancreas technology is awaiting FDA approval and could be on the market as early as 2017.

[h/t: Mental Floss]