Automated insulin delivery is quickly approaching with a few products already available. It is known by many names – artificial pancreas, hybrid closed loop, and Bionic Pancreas – to name a few. It includes a glucose measuring device (such as a CGM) and an insulin pump. The glucose measuring device senses glucose levels and then communicates with the pump using a computer-controlled algorithm. The pump, then, responds by increasing or decreasing the flow of insulin to keep blood glucose values in range.
The first generation of the artificial pancreas, Medtronic’s MiniMed™ 670G, is currently available. Medtronic has developed its own algorithm where the insulin pump adjusts insulin continuouslybased on numbers provided every five minutes by the CGM. It’s known as a hybrid closed-loop system because you still need to check blood glucose levels with a meter to calibrate the CGM. You also need to enter the amount of carbs eaten at each meal into the pump. It has, however, increased time in range. Additionally, it has prevented the number of lows people experience because of its ability to predict when a low might occur. Medtronic is now working on the next generation of this system.
The Future of Artificial Pancreas
The University of Virginia has developed their own algorithm and is allowing other companies to use it to develop their own closed loop systems. The Dexcom G6 will use this algorithm with a Dexcom CGM and a T-slim pump. With the Dexcom G6, no fingersticks are required. Omnipod is also working on a trial with this algorithm.
There are other companies continuing to work on artificial pancreas advancements. Bigfoot Biomedical is working on a system that uses Abbott’s Freestyle Libre flash monitoring system, a pump, and a smartphone. Boston University is working on a Bionic Pancreasthat automatically makes decisions about insulin (to lower sugar levels) and glucagon (to raise sugar levels) delivery every five minutes.
This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.