The University of Virginia’s Diabetes Assistant system is on the road to automate insulin delivery
Researchers at the University of Virginia (UVA) have been working for nearly a decade to turn a novel concept called the artificial pancreas (AP) system into working medical technology by adding automation to the pump that will help reduce the blood glucose fluctuations for people living with Type 1 diabetes (T1D). Their work has resulted in the creation of the Diabetes Assistant (DiAs), an experimental AP system that in clinical trials proved capable of providing tight, around-the-clock control over blood-sugar levels. Tighter control helps to reduce the risks for deadly low blood-sugar episodes and high blood-sugar episodes that can lead to long-term complications such as eye, heart, nerve and kidney diseases.
The DiAs research project is supported by JDRF and the JDRF AP Project Consortium, which consists of medical researchers, engineers, mathematicians and industry partners who work towards the unified goal of advancing development of AP technology. JDRF recently visited lead investigator Boris Kovatchev, Ph.D., to learn more about how his team is coming close to perfecting the DiAs system. You can click on the video to learn more.
The DiAs approximates the operation of a normal human pancreas by combining a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) along with an insulin pump and an algorithm that anticipates blood-sugar levels and automates delivery of the appropriate amount of insulin and, potentially, other key hormones. “It’s an enormous area where mathematics and engineering can help real people,” said Dr. Kovatchev. The first set of studies lasted only two days in a control environment, but the most recent ones ran over six months and tested at-home, around-the-clock use.
The complete results of their long-term six-center trial assessing real-world use will be released at ADA this week, according to Stacey Anderson, M.D., medical director of the UVA Center for Diabetes Technology. “Initial results are very promising. We are seeing a reduction in hypoglycemia of less than 70 mg/dl and an increase in time in range—especially in overnight –and waking-up with a glucose sugar that is close to normal,” said Dr. Anderson.
For more information about JDRF’s Artificial Pancreas program, click here.
Why it matters:
JDRF supports UVA’s closed loop system to make people’s lives with T1D a little easier. UVA knows how to make the system function in real time after managing more than 300 trial participants over the last ten years. The system has come quite far in a short amount of time and it is our hope that the system moves swiftly toward commercialization and into the hands of those with T1D.