world without Type 1 diabetes. That’s the vision of JDRF, formerly
known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. To date, it’s
the only known charitable organization supporting the development of
the artificial pancreas system. According to the board president of
JDRF’s southeastern Wisconsin chapter, Dr. Tammy Ferry, doctors and
researchers from all over the world are progressing toward technology
that is fully automated when it comes to treating Type 1 diabetes.
is to basically mimic a real pancreas," Ferry explains.
The system acts
like a brain of sorts, allowing the continuous glucose monitor to talk
to the insulin/pump producer. This helps people with Type 1 diabetes
automatically control their blood glucose level — a luxury granting
them the ability to live relatively normal lives.
"As we get
close to more advanced technology, we are able to move it out of
hospitals into real-world settings," Ferry says.
At any given
time, there are approximately 300 people in the U.S. using the
artificial pancreas system in clinical trials. Currently on the market
is a system by Medtronic called the Low Glucose Suspend MiniMed 530G,
which detects low glucose levels and suspends insulin when necessary.
getting to the point where smartphone technology can now be
incorporated into the equipment design," explains Ferry.
In Europe, an
artificial pancreas system called Predictive Low Glucose Suspend
MiniMed 640G is the next level of care for patients. The technology
actually anticipates and predicts a drop in glucose and makes
adjustments accordingly. According to Ferry, this system is moving
toward approval in the U.S. and could be available as early as 2017.
technology is advancing so rapidly that the life expectancy of someone
with Type 1 diabetes is now about the same as someone without the