‘Artificial pancreas’ smartphone app safe, effective for diabetics

A clinical trial showed that the artificial pancreas system (iAPS) app is safe and effective in regulating glucose levels under challenging conditions and is suitable for use in unconstrained environments

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artificial pancreas

Boston: Scientists have developed an ‘artificial pancreas’ smartphone app that can interface wirelessly with glucose monitors and insulin pump devices, to regulate blood sugar levels in patients of diabetes.

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A clinical trial showed that the artificial pancreas system (iAPS) app is safe and effective in regulating glucose levels under challenging conditions and is suitable for use in unconstrained environments.

“We designed, developed, and tested the interoperable artificial pancreas system (iAPS) smartphone app that can interface wirelessly with leading continuous glucose monitors (CGM), insulin pump devices, and decision-making algorithms while running on an unlocked smartphone,” researchers said.

The study, published in the journal Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, showed that the system can interface wirelessly with leading continuous glucose monitors (CGM), insulin pump devices, and decision-making algorithms.

According to the researchers, including those from Harvard University in the US, the system showed an improved time in the target glucose range (70-180 microgrammes per decilitre) and yielded a statistically significant reduction in time below 70 microgrammes per decilitre.

More about artificial pancreas

The artificial pancreas is an integrated system that is still being developed to monitor blood glucose (sugar) levels automatically. It provides insulin or a combination of insulin and a second hormone to people with type 1 diabetes.

The technology, by providing the substitute endocrine functionality of a healthy pancreas, helps patients control their blood glucose level automatically and continuously.

A successful artificial pancreas would be a life-changing advance for many people with type 1 diabetes.

Islet cells that produce the hormones insulin and glucagon provide the endocrine functionality of the pancreas. The technology mimics the secretion of these hormones into the bloodstream in response to the body’s changing blood glucose levels.

Maintaining balanced blood sugar levels is crucial to the function of the brain, liver, and kidneys. Therefore, for type 1 patients, it is necessary that the levels be kept balanced when the body cannot produce insulin without help.

“Artificial pancreas” is a broad term for different bio-engineering strategies currently in development to achieve these requirements. Different bio-engineering techniques include the medical equipment approach where an insulin pump is used under closed-loop control with real-time feedback data from a continuous blood glucose monitor.

Another approach is physiological. Here, a treatment is developed with engineered stem cells that are integrated into the body to provide functional blood glucose regulation.

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