For a while now people with diabetes have been hearing that a cure may be just 5 years away. After almost 90 years of having injected insulin as the only way of staying healthy with D there may finally be light at the end of the tunnel.
There is a number of interesting paths being pursued by researchers. One that seems to be taking a lot of traction is the artificial pancreas. While a lot of improvement has been done in insulin pump therapy in the last few years, the pump manufacturers seems to be still far from an automated closed look system.
Researchers at the University of Virginia Health System tested a computerized system that controlled overnight glucose levels and reduced hypoglycemia levels five-fold. The new system has been tested on 20 people with Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes. Each patient was admitted to the hospital twice for 24 hours each time. All patients had identical eating, sleeping, and exercising activity during the admissions.
Here is an video from JDRF about the Artificial Pancreas project:
“This artificial pancreas could one day greatly improve the current methods of self-treatment for Type 1 diabetes.” said lead investigator Boris Kovatchev, associate professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences in the university School of Medicine. “Instead of a patient having to measure his or her blood sugar with a glucose meter several times a day and self-administer insulin injections, this system would continuously regulate the patient’s blood glucose, much like the way a non-diabetic’s pancreas functions.”
Is the artificial pancreas really on it’s way? Well, maybe we need to wait another 5 years….