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JDRF Reaches Milestone in Artificial Pancreas Project in Partnership with UC Santa Barbara and Sansum Diabetes Research Institute

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Sansum Diabetes Research Institute (Sansum) announced today the achievement of a milestone in the Artificial Pancreas Project funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

The world's most flexible artificial pancreas system platform, currently being used in clinical trials around the globe, now has the benefit of compatibility with Animas Corporation insulin delivery products.

Animas Corporation ( is supplying its insulin delivery products to UCSB/Sansum and will be supplying them through the Animas Investigator-Sponsor Study (ISS) Program to other members of the Artificial Pancreas consortium, which comprises those teams participating in JDRF's Artificial Pancreas Project.  The Artificial Pancreas System (APS) platform was developed in Santa Barbara by UCSB in collaboration with Sansum, and is being used by researchers around the world. The insulin delivery products provided by Animas seamlessly configure with UCSB/Sansum's APS.

"The APS platform enables researchers from around the world to focus on developing the core algorithms for the artificial pancreas without the burden that is associated with the integration of hardware, software and a human machine interface," commented Dr. Eyal Dassau, lead scientist for UCSB's Artificial Pancreas System. "The APS is the only system that allows fully automated closed-loop clinical trials and its design allows it to be expanded as new devices become available."

"Animas Corporation has been instrumental in supporting the addition of their pump to our artificial pancreas platform," commented Dr. Howard Zisser, Director of Clinical Research and Diabetes Technology at Sansum. "This milestone should improve the communication performance of the system while also expanding the number of possible research centers that can use it to help close the loop for automated insulin delivery for patients with type 1 diabetes. The extended communications range will also allow research subjects greater freedom during clinical trials."

"The significant progress that the researchers at UCSB have made with their artificial pancreas system is proving to be a critical component in allowing us to see a first-generation artificial pancreas commercially available in the near future," said Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President of Glucose Control for JDRF and Director of the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project.  "Building on the announcement we made with Animas earlier in the year, we are all aware of the near-term impact on quality of life that even a partially automated artificial pancreas system can have for people with diabetes, and we are excited to see this development move forward."

About JDRF's Artificial Pancreas Project

This collaboration is the latest development within JDRF's Artificial Pancreas Project, and stems from the progress made since 2006 in the JDRF-funded Artificial Pancreas consortium, a group of university-based mathematicians, engineers and diabetes experts that has developed the computer programs needed for an artificial pancreas, and established its scientific feasibility.   These academic studies within the Artificial Pancreas Project are an excellent complement, and essential to JDRF's work with industry participants to develop first-generation systems.

JDRF announced the first major non-exclusive industry initiatives of the Artificial Pancreas Project in January 2010, when it entered into a non-exclusive partnership with Animas, a Johnson & Johnson company, to develop a first-generation artificial pancreas system.  

The eventual, ultimate goal of the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project is speeding the development of automated diabetes management systems.   The goal of an artificial pancreas has also been embraced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which, along with JDRF and the National Institutes of Health, brought together scientists, regulators, industry and patients for scientific workshops on the subject in 2005 and 2008; the FDA has designated an artificial pancreas as one of its "critical path" initiatives.

An artificial pancreas would measure blood sugar through a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which continuously reads the glucose levels through a hair-thin tube inserted just below the skin, typically on the stomach.  The CGM would beam those readings to an insulin pump.  In an advanced system, the pump would house a sophisticated computer program that would automatically calculate the necessary amount of insulin, based on the CGM's glucose readings, and deliver the right amount of insulin.

The development of an artificial pancreas system is an essential step toward an ultimate cure for type 1 diabetes–a "bridge to a cure."  

More information about the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project can be found online at  The site includes information for people with type 1 diabetes about research leading to the development of an artificial pancreas, as well as interactive tools, project timelines, chats with researchers and access to information about clinical trials.

About the Artificial Pancreas System

The first step toward an artificial pancreas is reliable communication between insulin pumps, continuous glucose sensors and control algorithms. The APS modular architecture supports multiple pumps, sensors and any control algorithm. The APS is being used today at more than eight clinical research centers around the world in the quest to develop an artificial pancreas. The flexible modular design of the APS currently support three insulin pumps–Animas' OneTouch® Ping®, Roche's Accu-Chek® Spirit Combo and  Insulet's Omnipod® system–and two CGMs–DexCom  Seven® / Seven plus® and Abbott Diabetes FreeStyle Navigator ®.

About JDRF

JDRF is a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of type 1 diabetes research. The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Type 1 diabetes is a disease that strikes children and adults suddenly and requires multiple injections of insulin daily or a continuous infusion of insulin through a pump. Insulin, however, is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its eventual and devastating complications, which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke and amputation.

Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.4 billion to diabetes research, including more than $100 million in FY2009.

About University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)

UCSB is a world-renowned research institution. The two groups at UCSB involved in Type 1 diabetes research are the Department of Chemical Engineering, in 2007 ranked ninth in the United States and second in the University of California system by U.S. News and World Report, and the Biomolecular Science and Engineering Program, which offers a unique interdisciplinary approach to graduate training and research spanning biochemistry, molecular biology, bioengineering and biomolecular materials.

About Sansum Diabetes Research Institute

The Sansum Diabetes Research Institute is a non-profit research center devoted to the prevention, treatment and cure of diabetes through research and education. It is best known for its work on diabetes and pregnancy and its expertise in new diabetes technology.

JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project

US FDA's Role in the Development of an Artificial Pancreas

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute      

Eyal Dassau at UCSB

Investigator-Sponsored Study (ISS) program

SOURCE Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
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