01 Oct 2018

Artificial Pancreas

What is this new technology?

In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the world’s first artificial pancreas. The device monitors blood sugar and supplies insulin automatically. It basically replicates what a healthy version of the organ does on its own; and it enables diabetes patients to live an easier life in a sustainable way. It is the biggest step towards a new era in diabetes management in years

The breakthrough happened years after the #wearenotwaiting movement started to campaign for the introduction of such artificial pancreas on the market. One of the leading figures of the movement, Dana Lewis also told me how an artificial pancreas eases everyday life. In 2017, this new way of diabetes management will spread around; and it will become a life-changing milestone in many patients’ lives when they first start to use the device.

It acts a lot like your real pancreas, constantly checking your blood sugar level and releasing insulin when your blood sugar gets too high. You wear a sensor and insulin pump on your skin, underneath your clothing, and a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) outside on your body. The CGM and pump work together as a team to respond to changes in your blood sugar level. Every 5 minutes, the CGM uses the sensor to check your blood sugar level and then sends your blood sugar reading to the insulin infusion pump.


The development of diabetes care does not end there. Google patented a digital contact lens that can measure blood glucose levels from tears as an added benefit. Google launched a partnership with the pharmaceutical company Novartis; and while there is rather silence around the state of the developments, there are rumors about it becoming available for trials in 2018.

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