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Researchers Successfully Create Computer-Simulated Model for Evaluating Artificial Pancreas

- Key Step in Ongoing Research to Replicate Insulin-Producing Function of Healthy Pancreas for Type 1 Diabetes Patients -

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- A key step toward the successful development of an artificial pancreas for patients with diabetes has been achieved, according to new research published in this month's issue of Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics.

Researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Sansum Diabetes Research Institute and Stanford Medical Center have effectively created a computer-simulated system for evaluating an investigational artificial pancreas comprised of the OmniPod(R) Insulin Management System--including the OmniPod insulin pump and Personal Diabetes Manager that controls it--and a continuous glucose monitor, in this case either the FreeStyle Navigator(R) or the DexCom STS7(R). The system also includes an algorithm that automates the interaction between the pump and monitor, and facilitates the running of a variety of tests and challenges to the software and component devices. The UC Santa Barbara-developed software and algorithms are also being used with a number of other pumps and monitors in developing additional systems.

"While we still have a ways to go, this new system brings us much closer to making the artificial pancreas a reality for type 1 diabetes patients," explained lead author Eyal Dassau, PhD, Diabetes Team Research Manager at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB). "This achievement is vital--we now have a way, prior to patient trials, to fully verify and validate that an artificial pancreas can efficiently operate in the variety of conditions reflective of a large group of patients with this disease."

The research is part of the artificial pancreas project, which is funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and is being conducted by an international group of diabetes research centers. The project's first goal is to integrate an insulin pump and continuous blood glucose monitor to closely replicate a healthy pancreas for patients with type 1 diabetes--patients whose pancreases no longer produce insulin, which is used by the body to control blood glucose levels. An artificial pancreas will allow for tighter and automated control of blood glucose levels, which would significantly help to avoid the long-term complications of the disease.

"This new system will really help streamline the preclinical trials; it will provide data central to the regulatory review process," said investigator Howard Zisser, MD, Director of Clinical Research and Diabetes Technology at the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. "We plan to begin using it in the next several months."

UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) is a leading research institution. The two groups involved in this study at UCSB are the Department of Chemical Engineering, which is committed to excellence in teaching and research and in 2007 was ranked ninth in the United States and second in the University of California by U.S. News and World Report, and its Biomolecular Science and Engineering Program, which offers a unique interdisciplinary approach to graduate training and research spanning Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Bioengineering and Biomolecular Materials.

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute is a non-profit research center devoted to the prevention, treatment and cure of diabetes through research and education. In particular, it is known for its work on methods to detect and chart the progress of diabetes and its expertise in new diabetes technology.

The OmniPod Insulin Management System is manufactured and sold by Insulet Corporation (Nasdaq: PODD). The FreeStyle Navigator is a product of Abbott Diabetes Care, and the DexCom STS7 is a product of DexCom, Inc.

    Media Contacts:

    Mark Sahl, Lazar Partners
    (609) 992-5205

    Tony Rairden
    College of Engineering, UCSB
    (805) 893-4301

SOURCE UC Santa Barbara Engineering
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