Artificial pancreas: New treatment for diabetes

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Artificial pancreas: New treatment for diabetes
Artificial pancreas: New treatment for diabetes

The Artificial Pancreas: What it Is and How it can help people with diabetes?

The artificial pancreas, also known as an artificial beta cell, is an experimental treatment that uses small equipment to help people with diabetes.

It maintains the proper levels of glucose in their bloodstream by automatically delivering insulin.

How does it work? An external device connected to an insulin pump provides real-time data about the patient’s blood sugar level, and the pump automatically administers the correct amount of insulin needed to keep it within a normal range.

What Is an Artificial Pancreas?

An artificial pancreas is a device that delivers insulin and glucagon hormones in a continuous fashion to control blood glucose levels without requiring any input from you.

The device checks your blood glucose level frequently, about every five minutes, using an sensor inserted under your skin.

If it determines that your blood sugar level is too high or too low, it automatically releases insulin or glucagon accordingly to bring it back into a normal range.

An artificial pancreas can work as a standalone device or be used in conjunction with an insulin pump.

Some people who use both devices may find they need less overall insulin than they did previously while using just an insulin pump because of how quickly their artificial pancreas responds to changes in their blood sugar levels.

Using Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G System as an Example

The MiniMed 670G System is one of two new continuous glucose monitoring systems that were approved by FDA in March 2016 for use as part of an artificial pancreas.

The system includes a sensor-augmented pump which releases insulin based on readings from a sensor worn on your body.

If you have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you will likely have been using an insulin pump or multiple daily injections to regulate your blood sugar levels.

But both options have some drawbacks, insulin pumps are not always accurate (especially when you first begin using them), while injections require needle sticks and are often painful.

A Word About Insulin

Artificial pancreas: New treatment for diabetes
Artificial pancreas: New treatment for diabetes

As you probably know, insulin is a hormone that keeps blood sugar levels in check. Produced by pancreas cells (hence its name), insulin helps transport glucose from food into cells, where it is either used as fuel or stored for later use.

When there is more glucose than our bodies need, insulin works to store some of it.

If there is not enough glucose around to begin with, insulin does what it can to keep our systems humming along properly.

Those who don’t produce much of their own insulin (namely type 1 diabetics) rely on medication that mimics natural insulin production as much as possible, this is where an artificial pancreas comes in.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems

Most people who have diabetes wear a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM. A CGM is a device about the size of a pager that uses a small sensor inserted just under your skin to measure your glucose levels every few minutes.

The sensor is attached to your body with a small tube called an infusion set, which carries your blood sugar readings back to a receiver you carry in your pocket or on your belt.

CGMs can provide more accurate information about how well you are managing blood sugar than finger-stick tests because they track blood sugar level over time instead of just one point in time.

Artificial pancreas: New treatment for diabetes
Artificial pancreas: New treatment for diabetes

A Word About Pump Therapy

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it may be because your pancreas is not functioning as well as it should.

A malfunctioning pancreas results in high blood sugar levels which can cause complications like nerve damage, amputation of limbs, or blindness.

Some people living with diabetes opt to use a pump instead of injections or insulin pens to help regulate their blood sugar levels and reduce symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, nausea, blurred vision, frequent urination, and more.

Unfortunately for people without access to continuous glucose monitors (CGM), high-quality pumps are incredibly expensive currently costing upwards of $6,000.

An artificial pancreas could significantly lower costs for both patients AND insurance companies.

Tips for Those Considering an Artificial Pancreas System (AP System)

While there is no national database for current research on AP, it is always available online.

If you want to keep an eye on medical advances in diabetes care, a couple of places to start include Google Scholar, which compiles articles from academic journals (you can narrow your search by date), and PubMed Central, a U.S. National Library of Medicine database that offers free full-text access to published research funded in part by federal agencies like NIH.

Another good place to find information is

It is not just for new drugs being tested in clinical trials; any FDA-regulated studies using medicines or medical devices are required to register information about their studies here. This includes clinical trials that are currently recruiting people with diabetes who may be interested in taking part.

Artificial pancreas: New treatment for diabetes
Artificial pancreas: New treatment for diabetes

Resources for Information on An AP System

An artificial pancreas (AP) system is a device that can help people manage their diabetes automatically.

The goal of an AP system is to combine all three types of insulin delivery mealtime bolus, continuous background, and correction into one seamless, automatic treatment plan.

This therapy mimics a natural pancreas by giving you insulin throughout your day based on how much carbohydrate you’ve eaten.

Your healthcare team will prescribe an AP system after determining that it’s safe for you to use and understanding what your blood sugar target range should be while using it.

Additionally, they will also determine if other medical conditions are present like kidney disease or gastroparesis (simply means paralysis of stomach), so they can be considered, when creating a treatment plan for you.


The artificial pancreas can be a life-changing innovation for people living with diabetes.

Although research is still in its early stages, it shows great promise for improving diabetes management by reducing daily blood glucose levels as well as lowering HbA1c levels over time.

By combining technologies that are already available, future versions of an artificial pancreas could eventually become an invaluable tool for people who need more regular insulin dosages.

The development of an artificial pancreas would also create further improvements in technology to help automate insulin delivery even when a person is going about their daily routine. With all these new potential benefits, we can’t wait to see what happens next!

Can pancreas be artificial?

Yes, pancreas be artificial. An artificial pancreas is a unique system made up of three parts that work together. The work in similar fashion to mimic how a healthy pancreas controls blood sugar level in the body.
This device (An artificial pancreas) is mainly used to help person with type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not able to produce insulin.

How much does artificial pancreas cost?

The full retail price for the artificial pancreas lies between $7,000 and $8,000. it may be relatively cheap if you include insurance coverage. Most patients pay around $1,000 to initially get on the system, after that they must pay for pump. CGM (continuous glucose monitor) supplies separately on an ongoing basis.

How successful is artificial pancreas?

Artificial pancreas is relatively successful. On average, patients who use the artificial pancreas spent two-thirds (66%) of their time within the target range.

Can you replace a pancreas?

Literally not you cant replace your own pancreas. But in a transplant of pancreas, your own pancreas remains in your body. The general surgeon usually connects the new pancreas to your intestines so its digestive juices can drain. After a successful transplant, patient will no longer need to take insulin. Now, the new pancreas will create insulin for you.

Can surgery remove pancreas?

Pancreatectomy is the type of surgery that removes part or all of your pancreas.This procedure is basically done to treat cancer, and sometimes, severe chronic pancreatitis. Removing part or all of your pancreas can have lifelong consequences and may be detrimental for your digestive system. Patient may need to take insulin and digestive enzymes from now on.

Who created artificial pancreas?

Professor Roman Hovorka of University of Cambridge has been credited for development of an artificial pancreas.

Can an artificial pancreas cure diabetes?

An artificial pancreas was originally developed to manage blood glucose levels in people with type 1diabetes. According to recent researches an artificial pancreas may help patient with type 2 diabetes. Without increasing the risk of severe complications, blood glucose levels show improvement.

What is the age limit for pancreas transplant?

Age is not a deciding factor for pancreas transplant. But still the procedure is rarely performed in older people considering, they often have other health problems. Therefore transplant of pancreas is too risky.

Has an artificial pancreas been approved?

Yes, The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Medtronic Minimed’s 780G automated insulin delivery system with the Guardian 4 sensor. This latest so-called artificial pancreas system is approved for person aged 7 years and older who have type 1 diabetes.

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