Imagine a future where tight glucose control is maintained automatically and with ease.
Why it matters
Currently, managing type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a never-ending, difficult chore because the body often defies even the most vigilant efforts to keep blood sugar at normal levels. As a result, even sleeping can be anxiety-filled for people with T1D, because that’s often when dangerous low-blood-sugar episodes occur. Simply enjoying a slice of pizza can require significant insulin-dose planning in order to avoid high blood sugar and the resulting risks of serious diabetic complications.
Artificial pancreas (AP) systems will automate blood-sugar management, dramatically reducing T1D-related risks and improving lives of people who have the disease. These systems will monitor glucose levels around the clock and automatically provide the right amount of insulin, and potentially other blood-sugar stabilizing hormones, at the right time. The heart of the system—sophisticated computer algorithms that live on a smartphone or similar device—will link to a continuous glucose monitor sensor and insulin pump to determine blood sugar trends and control insulin delivery.
As AP technology advances, these systems will become better and better at predicting blood-sugar changes and providing tightly controlled insulin dosing that virtually eliminates hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic episodes. AP systems are on the road to becoming the most revolutionary advance in diabetes care since the discovery of insulin.
Our pioneering research
JDRF has fostered incredible recent progress in AP technology through direct funding and collaborative partnerships with academic institutions, research organizations and industry.
Following the launch of our Artificial Pancreas Project in 2006, our first steps were to support the development of continuous glucose monitors and increasingly sophisticated insulin pumps. Today, precursor AP systems that both monitor blood glucose and automatically suspend insulin delivery in order to prevent dangerously low blood sugar are on the market. Early AP systems with the ability to predict blood sugar trends and dose accordingly are expected to enter the market as early as 2017.
We’ve come a long way on this journey in a short period of time. But more work must be done to advance the development of AP systems. JDRF is continuing to push for faster-acting insulin, improved blood-glucose sensing technology and the ultimate goal of this project: completely automated AP systems that replicate, as closely as possible, the operations of a normal pancreas.
We're not just imagining a world without T1D. We're making it happen.
CMS Creates Pathway to CGM Medicare Coverage
After years of JDRF advocacy efforts, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) classifies continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) as durable medical equipment, creating a pathway for their coverage by Medicare. However, CMS did not establish coverage criteria for CGM in their ruling, so Medicare coverage decisions will be made on a case-by-case or claim-by-claim basis based on a determination of whether CGM is “reasonable and necessary” for treatment of an individual’s T1D. The new classification is crucial for continued development of artificial pancreas systems, most of which incorporate CGMs.Read More
First Artificial Pancreas System Wins FDA Approval
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the first hybrid closed-loop artificial pancreas system for use in the United States. Medtronic’s treat-to-range MiniMed 670G delivers continuous basal insulin doses in response to blood-glucose data monitored by a CGM incorporated into the system, but requires mealtime bolusing. JDRF underwrote early research that led to the system’s development.Read More
New Partnership Focuses on Improved Infusion Set
JDRF partners with Pacific Diabetes Technologies to develop a combined CGM sensor and insulin infusion set component for insulin pumps and, eventually, AP systems. A more convenient combined device, requiring only a single item to penetrate the skin, may encourage broader adoption of CGM, pump and AP technologies.Read More
UVA AP System Wins NIH Funding for Pivotal Trial
Investigators at the University of Virginia wrap up a definitive trial of the Diabetes Assistant (DiAs) artificial pancreas system—funded solely by JDRF. Results demonstrate that the hybrid closed-loop systems are safe and effective for extended home use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) follows up with a $12.7 million grant to support a two-phase pivotal trial of the technology.Read More
Making T1D data-sharing much easier
It will be much easier for people with T1D to share their blood-glucose data with caregivers and loved ones thanks to a new Bluetooth technology.Read more
Sleeping Safely Through the Night
A United Kingdom study shows overnight use of an experimental AP system keeps blood-glucose levels in range, preventing highs and lows.Read more
Precursor AP technology makes its debut
In early 2015, Medtronic’s MiniMed® 640G system reached the market. The predictive low-glucose-suspend system is designed to stop insulin delivery to prevent hypoglycemia.Read more
First AP clinical trial begins
The FDA approved the first U.S. outpatient clinical trial for an AP system in 2012.Read more
JDRF launches Artificial Pancreas Consortium
In 2008, JDRF formed a consortium of experts from different fields to get artificial pancreas technology off the ground.
Meet the experts leading artificial pancreas research.
Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D.
Aaron Kowalski is Chief Mission Officer and Vice President of Research, where he is a leader of JDRF’s Artificial Pancreas Project.
Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D.
Marlon Pragnell, Ph.D.
Marlon Pragnell is a senior scientist in translational development, where he manages JDRF’s multimillion dollar Artificial Pancreas Project.
Marlon Pragnell, Ph.D.
Explore more life-changing research
Find out why each of these research areas is part of the plan for a world without T1D.