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.