Artificial Pancreas

The burden is eased all day, and you sleep safely through the night

Imagine a future where tight glucose control is maintained automatically and with ease.

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.

Our pioneering research

JDRF has fostered incredible recent progress in AP technology through direct funding and collaborative partnerships with academic institutions, research organizations and industry.

Following the launch of our Artificial Pancreas Project in 2006, our first steps were to support the development of continuous glucose monitors and increasingly sophisticated insulin pumps. Today, precursor AP systems that both monitor blood glucose and automatically suspend insulin delivery in order to prevent dangerously low blood sugar are on the market. Early AP systems with the ability to predict blood sugar trends and dose accordingly are expected to enter the market as early as 2017.

We’ve come a long way on this journey in a short period of time. But more work must be done to advance the development of AP systems. JDRF is continuing to push for faster-acting insulin, improved blood-glucose sensing technology and the ultimate goal of this project: completely automated AP systems that replicate, as closely as possible, the operations of a normal pancreas.


We're not just imagining a world without T1D. We're making it happen.

JDRF scientists

Meet the experts leading artificial pancreas research.

  • Vincent Crabtree, Ph.D.

    Vincent Crabtree, Ph.D.

    Vincent Crabtree is senior manager for new technology development. In this role, he identifies and manages research and industrial initiatives related to the Artificial Pancreas Program.

    Vincent Crabtree, Ph.D.

  • Marlon Pragnell, Ph.D.

    Marlon Pragnell, Ph.D.

    Marlon Pragnell is a senior scientist in translational development, where he manages JDRF’s multimillion dollar Artificial Pancreas Project.

    Marlon Pragnell, Ph.D.

Explore more life-changing research

Find out why each of these research areas is part of the plan for a world without T1D.