March 18, 2015 – Artificial Pancreas


Anchor lead:  Keeping blood sugar under control may soon be more automated, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Your pancreas largely uses two hormones, insulin and glucagon, to manage your blood sugar automatically.  Now a new device called an artificial pancreas that also uses both hormones, may help people with diabetes, especially those who require insulin, manage things better.  Rita Kalyani, a diabetes expert at Johns Hopkins, describes where things stand.

Kalyani: Development of the artificial pancreas, very exciting.  We’ve seen studies where it’s been shown to be good at lowering glucose but also minimizing hypoglycemia compared to standard insulin pump.  Now we’re seeing studies that are taking place in ‘real world’ settings at home.  I think the barrier there is there’s still a lot of technology, it’s big it’s bulky kind of like the old cell phones, it’s not very user-friendly, but it’s very exciting the development is really escalating at a very rapid pace.   :29

Kalyani says the strategy of using both hormones rather than insulin alone mimics the body’s system, and may help avoid development of the many complications of diabetes better.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.