JDRF and Other Organizations Make Recent Progress with Artificial Pancreas Research

close up of scientist with test sample making research in clinical laboratoryThe news about artificial pancreas, sensor-assisted insulin pump, and closed-loop insulin delivery technologies keeps getting better. Work driven by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the National Institutes of Health, medical device manufacturers, and other reputable organizations has graduated the concept of the artificial pancreas closer to “reality” status.

Medical research professionals have further demonstrated that artificial pancreas technology significantly increases glycemic control among people with type 1 diabetes, and may improve plasma glucose management, especially overnight, in pregnant women with type 1 diabetes.

These results, plus the encouraging results from thousands of patients using glucose sensing and infusion devices, have propelled additional interest in artificial pancreas technology. The JDRF has been an outstanding catalyst of recent workgroups, studies, and publications. It has recently amassed a panel of internationally renowned diabetes leaders with enough clout to get the FDA to listen to its recommendations for accelerating artificial pancreas innovation. To date, the panel has been markedly effectual.

In a meeting of the JDRF-assembled clinical panel, the experts convinced the FDA to buy-into four key provisions:

  • supporting more artificial pancreas studies in the broader outpatient diabetes environment
  • agreeing to attributes of a target group of ideal diabetes patients for further artificial pancreas clinical trials
  • agreeing to safety practices that will help insulin-dependent trial patients in commonplace situations, outside of the patient care environment
  • adopting a set of safety and effectiveness measures to be monitored throughout clinical trials, and as end-point measures

Thanks to the cooperation of the FDA, efforts of the JDRF, and motivation of physicians, researchers, and medical device companies, physicians could soon prescribe closed-loop insulin delivery and insulin pumping and sensing systems to a broader diabetes patient base. Furthermore, artificial pancreas innovations are likely to offer doctors and patients even better anti-diabetes devices.

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