An artificial implantable pancreas that could deliver insulin and monitor glucose levels has shown positive results in a laboratory, University of California Santa Barbara researchers have reported. The artificial pancreas could soon be tested with animals, said the researchers.

A diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes means continual daily monitoring of blood sugar levels and injecting insulin regularly. Francis J Doyle III from the University of California Santa Barbara, and his team are looking for a way to make monitoring and insulin delivery automatic and needle-free.

They created an algorithm which both monitors blood sugar levels and computes insulin doses, that it quickly and automatically delivers at the necessary times.

The algorithm is designed to work with implanted devices, in particular with an artificial pancreas, and would surmount the delays experienced when using existing devices.

Tested using iPads that were connected with an insulin pump, the algorithm was combined with computer simulations of the rise and fall of glucose in the body.

The artificial pancreas kept blood glucose within the target range almost 80 per cent of the time.

The University of California-Santa Barbara chemical engineering department’s Frank Doyle, stated that the closed-circuit system provided much tighter control at an unprecedented level.

“It will have immediate benefits, as it will lower health-care costs in the country and it will reduce the amount of decisions people with diabetes need to make on a constant basis”, said Doyle.

Design and Evaluation of a Robust PID Controller for a Fully Implantable Artificial Pancreas Lauren M. Huyett, Eyal Dassau, Howard C. Zisser, and Francis J. Doyle, III Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., Articles ASAP DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.5b01237

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