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The artificial pancreas is a piece of technology that the diabetic community has been following closely for years. After years of waiting, there may be an official timetable for the biggest advancement of diabetes ever. From a statement released by the researchers developing an artificial pancreas, these new treatments could be available in the next two years. A paper that was published in Diabetologia showed that the artificial pancreas is likely to enter into the medical field by 2018.
The artificial pancreas is not really what the name implies. It isn’t a piece of a computer that is inserted into the body to replace a pancreas. Instead, it’s two pieces of technology that can mimic the pancreas functions automatically.
The new device’s goal is to essentially combine the duties of an insulin pump and a glucose meter to make a closed loop device that can read glucose levels and make adjustments without the user having to interfere with the system. Once the pancreas arrives in the diabetic community, it could completely change the way that type 1 diabetics manage their diabetes.
The authors of the statement, Dr. Roman Hovorka and Dr. Hood Thabit from the University of Cambridge, had some exciting news from the results of the trials from the pancreas, “In trials to date, users have been positive about how use of an artificial pancreas give them ‘time off’ or a ‘holiday’ from their diabetes management, since the system is managing their blood sugar effectively without the need for constant monitoring by the user”, which shows exactly why so many diabetics have been tracking the progress of this technology.
There have been several studies that have looked at the effectiveness of these artificial pancreases to see if they would work in the “real world”, and the results are encouraging. All of the trails behind the system show that it is as good as current treatment styles or even better than most of them. Not only are they effective, but it gives type 1 diabetics a peace of mind not having to worry constantly about their glucose levels and help them live their lives without the added stress that diabetes brings.
While the authors believe that the pancreas system will be available by 2018, there are still a lot of factors that could impact the release date. All medical technology has to go through extensive FDA approval before it can be sold to patients. Depending on the research and data that goes along with the system, the approval process can take longer than estimated or it could be declined.
Another factor is making sure the device is secure. There are concerns that these devices could be vulnerable to interference from another piece of technology that could hinder its effectiveness. With how reliant our society is on technology and the constant advancement, cyber security is always at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Especially when it comes to medical devices that would have drastic effects if anything were to fail.
For all of you that have been holding your breath for a closed loop insulin device, your wait is almost over. In two years we could be looking at type 1 diabetics that live their lives just like a person without diabetes. An artificial pancreas could completely change treatment methods for type 1 diabetes. Instead of always checking levels and making adjustments, they can live their lives and focus on what matters.