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NIH awards group $4.5 million for smart artificial pancreas technology
Date:10/26/2011

Santa Barbara, Calif. -- The National Institutes for Health (NIH) have awarded $4.5 million to a group of international diabetes researchers to engineer an artificial pancreas system that will monitor and adapt to the body's complex real-time changes in behavior and physiology. This collaboration between physicians and engineers aims to merge three key aspects of type 1 diabetes management human behavior, physiology, and medical technology and ultimately to transition their artificial pancreas technology into clinical practice.

"This is a groundbreaking project that assembles the world's leaders in artificial pancreas technology to not only expand in-clinic methods for control of blood sugar, but to pioneer the development of outpatient solutions that can bring improved quality of life to patients in their natural environment," said Professor Frank Doyle of UC Santa Barbara, Principal Investigator for this study. "It is a unique team with interdisciplinary strengths that range from control engineering to medical practice to behavioral science."

Setting their study apart is the focus on developing a more sophisticated program, or algorithm, which acts as the "brain" of the artificial pancreas. Called a closed-loop control (CLC) system, this algorithm is informed by the numerous physiological changes such as hormones, meals, stress, exercise and sleep and mimics the insulin creation function of a healthy pancreas. A CLC system that treats type 1 diabetes must be responsive to all daily challenges in life, and able to accurately predict blood glucose levels in advance.

"This is medically-inspired engineering, or engineering-inspired medicine," commented Doyle, a Chemical Engineering professor at UCSB who holds the Mellichamp Chair in Process Control. "One of the great advantages we have is that we are collaborating to mutually understand what is needed in both the research and clinical environments to make the artificial pancreas
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Contact: Melissa Van De Werfhorst
melissa@engineering.ucsb.edu
805-893-4301
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

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