An artificial pancreas in a couple of years?

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I just read in the Lancet magazine that scientists in Cambridge have made a significant step towards developing a so-called “artificial pancreas” system for managing type 1 diabetes in children and has for the first time conducted clinical tests on children with type 1 diabetes with successful results.

According to the study, using an artificial pancreas system overnight can significantly reduce the risk of hypoglycemia, when blood glucose levels drop dangerously low, while sleeping. These so-called “hypos” are a major concern for people with type 1 diabetes.


The artificial pancreas system combines a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, both already on the market, and uses a sophisticated algorithm to calculate the appropriate amount of insulin to deliver based on the real-time glucose readings.

Practically, it means that people with Type 1 diabetes won’t have to prick their fingers several times a day to check their sugar levels and that they will get more regular blood glucose levels overnight.

I was told that the technology should be commercially available within four years.

In the meantime, insulin management still remains a major stumbling block in the successful management of diabetes. I believe that there is a major shift happening in the diabetes industry. Since 1921 when Banding discovered insulin, we have been using it to manage the disease of diabetes. However, today the management of diabetes is becoming axed more on the management of patients than on the management of the disease itself. Today’s patient should be given more responsibility for the management of his condition, and this means giving him more information. That is the basic principle of health management.

Much information about insulin is not readily available or is not transparent. Insulin should be stored away from direct light at a temperature between 2 and 8°C. It should be brought to room temperature before being injected. It should never be directly exposed to ice or be frozen as it will then form crystals and will no longer be usable. Those are simple rules, yet they are hardly ever followed.

As a person whose family is affected by diabetes, it is crucially important that this information be disseminated. A few years ago, one of my brothers nearly died because his insulin was frozen by accident in a hotel. That is why we developed the Medifridge, our own solution for the safe transport of insulin. Since then, the Medifridge is used by thousands of people worldwide to safely transport their medications, including my brother.

Have a great day

Uwe Diegel

http://www.medactiv.com

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