Successful First Trial for Artificial Pancreas

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The new artificial pancreas system developed at Boston University was able to maintain near-normal glucose levels without causing hypoglycemia in a small group of type 1 diabetic patients in the first clinical trial conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The system, that closely mimics the body’s blood sugar control mechanism, combines a blood glucose monitor and insulin pump technology with software that directs administration of insulin and the blood-sugar-raising hormone glucagon. Because any administration of insulin, even by an artificial pancreas, has been associated with the risk of hypoglycemia, the new system not only administers insulin but also incorporates glucagon, a hormone naturally released in non diabetics by the pancreas to raise blood sugar levels.
The study was supported by grants from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the Charlton Fund for Innovative Research in Diabetes and the National Center for Research Resources.

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