"Infusion pumps and glucose sensors are already commercially-available, but patients must frequently check the sensor and adjust the pump's output," says Mr. Haidar. "To liberate them from this sizable challenge, we needed to find a way for the sensor to talk to the pump directly. So we developed an intelligent dosing algorithm, which is the brain of the system. It can constantly recalculate insulin dosing based on changing glucose levels, in a similar way to the GPS system in a car, which recalculates directions according to traffic or an itinerary change."
The researchers' algorithm, which could eventually be integrated as software into a smart phone, receives data from the CGM, calculates the required insulin (and glucagon, if needed) and wirelessly controls the pump to automatically administer the proper doses without intervention by the patient.
"The system we tested more closely mimics a normal pancreas by secreting both insulin and glucagon," adds Dr. Laurent Legault, peadiatric endocrinologist and outgoing Director of the Insulin Pump Centre at the Montreal Children's Hospital, and co-author of the study. "While insulin lowers blood glucose levels, glucagon has the opposite effect and raises glucose levels. Glucagon can protect against hypoglycemia if a patient with diabetes miscalculates the necessary insulin dose."
"Our work is exciting because the artificial pancreas has the potential to substantially improve the management of diabetes and reduce daily frustrations for patients," concludes Dr. Rabasa-Lhoret. "We
|Contact: Julie Langelier|
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal