Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Who ordered an artificial pancreas? Comin' right up!

JDRF Forms Partnership With Animas to Develop First-Generation Automated System for Managing Type 1 Diabetes

Partnership to develop automated system to better control diabetes represents first step on path to artificial pancreas --

NEW YORK, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation today announced an innovative partnership with Animas Corporation to develop an automated system to help people with type 1 diabetes better control their disease -- the first step on the path to what would be among the most revolutionary advancements in treating type 1 diabetes: the development of an artificial pancreas, a fully automated system to dispense insulin to patients based on real-time changes in blood sugar levels.

Animas, a Johnson & Johnson company, is a leading manufacturer and distributor of insulin delivery and glucose management systems. JDRF is a global leader in research leading to better treatments and cures for type 1 diabetes.

The objectives of the partnership, a major industry initiative within the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project, are to develop an automated system to manage diabetes, conduct extensive clinical trials for safety and efficacy, and submit the product to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval.

"If successful, the development of this first-generation system would begin the process of automating how people with diabetes manage their blood sugar," said Alan Lewis, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of JDRF. "Ultimately, an artificial pancreas will deliver insulin as needed, minute-by-minute, throughout the day to maintain blood sugars within a target range. But even this early system could bring dramatic changes in the quality of life for the 3 million people in the U.S. with type 1 diabetes, beginning to free kids and adults from testing, calculating and treating themselves throughout the day."

Dr. Lewis noted that "JDRF will provide $8 million in funding over the next three years for this project, with a target of having a first-generation system ready for regulatory review within the next four or so years."

The first-generation system would be partially automated, utilizing an insulin pump connected wirelessly with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). The CGM continuously reads glucose levels through a sensor with a hair-thin sensor wire inserted just below the skin, typically on the abdomen. The sensor would transmit those readings to the insulin pump, which delivers insulin through a small tube or patch on the body. The pump would house a sophisticated computer program that will address safety concerns during the day and night, by helping prevent hypoglycemia and extreme hyperglycemia. It would slow or stop insulin delivery if it detected blood sugar was going too low and would increase insulin delivery if blood sugar was too high. For example, the system would automatically discontinue insulin delivery to help prevent hypoglycemia, and then automatically resume insulin delivery based on a specific time interval (i.e., 2 hours) and/or glucose concentration. It will also automatically increase insulin delivery to reduce the amount of time spent in the hyperglycemic range and return to a pre-set basal rate once glucose concentrations have returned to acceptable levels.

In this early version of an automated diabetes management system, the patient would still need to manually instruct the pump to deliver insulin at times, (i.e. around meals). But this "hypoglycemia-hyperglycemia minimizer" system would represent a significant step forward in diabetes management, and could provide immediate benefits in terms of blood sugar control, by minimizing dangerous highs and lows.

DexCom, Inc., a leading manufacturer of CGM devices, will supply the CGM technology for the system to be developed by JDRF and Animas.

Tell me how much this would rock, on so many levels. In Gracie's lifetime, an artificial pancreas? Almost takes my breath away, cause I have been wanting to order one of these for about a year now.

The control she would have, the freedom she would have, the length of her life would increase, her complications would decrease with greater control, the nasty lows, the unspeakable highs, all rolled into one.

When people always mention 'cure' to me after they find out Gracie has Type 1, I am always a little hesitant to put all my eggs in that basket. There are people who are senior citizens with Type 1, who have been reassured for decades that a cure is right around the corner. I can imagine, well, no, I cannot even imagine, waiting 50+ years for a cure. This press release and the notion that they are actually funding and working on an artificial pancreas, now that speaks 'cure' to me. I'll jump in that basket, holding all my eggs, any time.

1 comment:

Meri said...

I'll take three please...well, 4...I better grab one for my brother too. :)