The Artificial Pancreas

For people living with Type1 diabetes, tight control of blood glucose levels is key to greatly reducing complications affecting the heart, nerves and kidneys. At no point in time from the first mentioning of diabetes back with the Egyptians in 1552 BC, until now, have we ever been more able to achieve this.

Over the past 5 to 10 years, continuous glucose monitors (CGM's), insulin pumps and algorithms have combined to form closed loop systems or the artificial pancreas. CGM's continuously monitor one's blood glucose levels, communicating this information to the insulin pump. Algorithms within the closed loop software make insulin dosing decisions based upon the CGM data. While manual bolus dosing is still required during snacks and meals, the artificial pancreas is able to tailor insulin delivery over an entire 24-hour period, often leading to much greater time "in range". This is a major stress relief for anyone managing T1D, as it's like having mathematician on your side, continuously crunching numbers to make educated decisions for keeping you in range.

As medical technology continues to improve at a rapid pace, and a growing market fosters competition, the hope is that the artificial pancreas moves from becoming an expensive insurance-enabled option for diabetics to standard, affordable treatment.