In the field of medical technology, companies are working to make diabetes more hands-off every year, trying to end the cycle of checking and monitoring, and streamline the glucose-delivery process. But with each passing year, they’re closer than ever with artificial pancreases, also known as automated insulin delivery systems.
Worn like traditional insulin pumps, these systems are designed to automate blood-sugar management by monitoring glucose levels continuously and providing insulin that can stabilize blood sugar levels as they’re needed.All of this is managed by an algorithm that connects your insulin pump, the artificial pancreas, to a smartphone. It can detect what your glucose level is, and it has an insulin delivery device that can deliver subcutaneous insulin instantly. Instead of giving you that one fixed dose constantly, the smart technology can change and vary as needed.
The first system of this kind was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2016.It’s been available for more than a year and newer updated versions are anticipated in the coming months and years.These newer versions will hopefully deliver greater ease of use and satisfaction.
What most children and adolescents are seeking in an artificial pancreas system is one that overall decreases the work that they put into their diabetes. The ideal system for patients with diabetes is to ‘set and forget,’ and we are not there yet. Patients still need to be aware of what their blood sugars are and what the system is doing. The idea of the artificial pancreas is a marvel of medical science that took decades because of the complexities of how glucose delivery and monitoring work. But even these advances have a long way to go before they truly replicate a human pancreas.