Artificial Pancreas Passes Human Trial

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Artificial Pancreas Passes Human Trial

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This fully-automated insulin delivery system could change the lives of millions.

Type 1 diabetes is a nasty disease. The root of the problems associated with it is a near-shutdown of the patient's pancreas, meaning that their body is no longer supplied with the insulin it needs to regulate its sugar levels. To keep themselves alive, patients are required to either manually inject insulin or deliver it with an implanted pump. But what if the system could be fully automated using advanced technology and sweet robotics? In an attempt to answer that question, one team of researchers has just completed a successful human trial of an independent, artificial pancreas.

The artificial pancreas, dubbed the Hypoglycemia-Hyperglycemia Minimizer (HHM), is composed of an implantable insulin pump, a glucose monitor, and advanced software that enables it to predict changes in the wearer's blood sugar levels. Thanks to its monitoring software, it is able to inject the right amounts of insulin in response to the person's changing needs with astonishing speed and accuracy.

In its first feasibility study earlier this month, the HHM proved capable of tracking and stabilizing blood sugar levels in 13 patients over a 24 hour period. The system alternated between closed-loop (managing things on its own) and open-loop (assisted by humans) phases, including periods where the patients were supplied with food designed to deliberately stress the system out. Right the way through, the HHM and its smart software were able to maintain stability in sugar levels and predict rises and falls in said levels above or below set thresholds.

The system was created and tested by the Animas Corporation in conjuction with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, with the eventual aim being the creation of a closed-loop insulin delivery system for Type 1 diabetics. This successful trial will now allow the researchers involved to further test and develop the technology.

Although diabetics regularly receive glowing news about the latest and greatest leaps forward in insulin technology, the HHM is a little different for one reason: it can function closed-loop. If it passes further stages of research and development, it could dramatically change the daily lives of the millions of Type 1 diabetics worldwide who need to manually monitor their blood sugar and then calculate and inject the right amount of insulin throughout the day.

Of course, such a device would always carry the risk of mechanical failure or a snafu in the software; it remains to be seen whether or not patients would be willing to trust something like this with their, well, lives. The wider implications, and what they mean for the future of the human body and intricate integrated hardware, are interesting too. Would you trust an algorithm with anything more complicated than regulating your heartbeat?

Source: i09

Image: Wikimedia

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So am I right in saying this Pancreas is a real panacea?

Heyooo

OT BUT yeah, this is good and all that. Power to the peeps.

I guess invest in candy companies now?

So wait are we going to become our own robot overlords one day?

Hmm. doesn't the software need recharging? Something that works on electrical impulses can't possibly have an infinity of them stored up.

If so, how do you do it? Do you open the patient back up and change the batteries?
Because that's pretty damn rough.

Also, yes I would trust an algorithm. Algorithms never make mistakes unless they weren't programmed properly in the first place. And chances are, if it's already been extensively tested... it isn't a matter of "trust".

I was wondering what this had to do with gaming, until I discovered that Animas is a subdivision of Aperture Science.

poiumty:
Hmm. doesn't the software need recharging? Something that works on electrical impulses can't possibly have an infinity of them stored up.

If so, how do you do it? Do you open the patient back up and change the batteries?
Because that's pretty damn rough.

Also, yes I would trust an algorithm. Algorithms never make mistakes unless they weren't programmed properly in the first place. And chances are, if it's already been extensively tested... it isn't a matter of "trust".

There are already embedded units which are charged externally. The real difference is that the software itself doesn't need assistance adjusting insulin, not that it's completely self-sufficient.

Zachary Amaranth:

There are already embedded units which are charged externally. The real difference is that the software itself doesn't need assistance adjusting insulin, not that it's completely self-sufficient.

So do they last a lifetime or do they need replacement? Because we haven't taken such a great leap if we still need to do a surgery once in a while to change the batteries.

Wonder when usb ports will be developed that will allow people to charge the devices within themselves. Like, sticking out of the skin or something. That's when the real human revolution will begin.

image

Cool Story Bro

What kind of lesson is this for kids? Eat crappy food, grow up to become a cyborg.

poiumty:
Hmm. doesn't the software need recharging? Something that works on electrical impulses can't possibly have an infinity of them stored up.

If so, how do you do it? Do you open the patient back up and change the batteries?
Because that's pretty damn rough.

Also, yes I would trust an algorithm. Algorithms never make mistakes unless they weren't programmed properly in the first place. And chances are, if it's already been extensively tested... it isn't a matter of "trust".

I don't think a device like this necessarily needs to be completely embedded in a person; insulin pumps at the moment use electronics and aren't, as far as I know, hidden inside someone.

Anyway, interesting things! You're right about it not technically being a matter of "trust" - but humans are fickle creatures. Take the contraceptive pill, for example. Most women who use that stop taking it for a week every month, which induces a fake period of sorts. This isn't at all necessary, but for people who've spent their whole lives taking a period as an indication of their reproductive health, it feels necessary. Medically it means almost nothing, but it's still included as part of the regimen. I've heard it referred to as a "sympathy bleed," even.

So how would a diabetic habituated to years of regulating their own blood sugar and insulin feel about handing control over to a small, but very clever, machine? Would the payoff of not having to inject routinely override any worries? I think it's an interesting line of inquiry.

EDIT: And then there are the embedded human batteries, of course... http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/113719-Scientists-Create-Deus-Ex-Style-Biofuel-Battery

Ignorance is bliss I guess DVS BSTrD. Type 1 Diabetes is caused by genetics, not dietary habits and speaking AS a Type 1 Diabetic I sincerely hope this works. I would trust it, I already trust insulin pumps and while this is much more advanced it works on the same principles. This would be a major leap forward and, like it or not, a relief to the health care system. Because of Diabetes my monthly health bill, JUST FOR DIABETES, is $824, now luckily I'm using Tricare so my insurance takes care of all of that. With this you're talking 90-99% reduction in cost per month which makes Diabetes affordable and makes employers willing to actually hire you with the disability.

Hevva:

I don't think a device like this necessarily needs to be completely embedded in a person; insulin pumps at the moment use electronics and aren't, as far as I know, hidden inside someone.

For a self-regulating system to be able to constantly monitor a certain state, it needs at least a small part of it in the human body to take samples over time. I don't know how insulin pumps work, but they aren't self-regulating. So the question remains: how long do the batteries last, are they self-rechargable somehow, or do they need invasive battery replacement surgery like pacemakers? Unless they monitor insulin levels via external means, but that just means you have to bleed constantly, doesn't it.

Hevva:

Anyway, interesting things! You're right about it not technically being a matter of "trust" - but humans are fickle creatures. Take the contraceptive pill, for example. Most women who use that stop taking it for a week every month, which induces a fake period of sorts. This isn't at all necessary, but for people who've spent their whole lives taking a period as an indication of their reproductive health, it feels necessary. Medically it means almost nothing, but it's still included as part of the regimen. I've heard it referred to as a "sympathy bleed," even.

True, people will always reject what goes against their nature, even if it's their nature that is in the wrong. It's really a matter of perspective though. The less you know about machines and engineering, the more likely it'll be that you'll be afraid of them killing you in your sleep.

I long for the day I can say "My pancreas is augmented".

poiumty:

Zachary Amaranth:

There are already embedded units which are charged externally. The real difference is that the software itself doesn't need assistance adjusting insulin, not that it's completely self-sufficient.

So do they last a lifetime or do they need replacement? Because we haven't taken such a great leap if we still need to do a surgery once in a while to change the batteries.

Wonder when usb ports will be developed that will allow people to charge the devices within themselves. Like, sticking out of the skin or something. That's when the real human revolution will begin.

There's usually (to my understanding) a small, external battery.

They have developed nanomachines that run based on blood suagr, so it'd be interesting if they could one day build a completely self-sustaining machine. Though it could cause lows, possibly, so that could be a problem.

I should tell my Dad about this...this sounds like a bigger breakthrough than islet cell implants. Wonder if it would undo or, lessen the effects of his glaucoma as well...

Zachary Amaranth:
There's usually (to my understanding) a small, external battery.

They have developed nanomachines that run based on blood suagr, so it'd be interesting if they could one day build a completely self-sustaining machine. Though it could cause lows, possibly, so that could be a problem.

There are also battery packs that can be recharged via magnetic field induction. They're not infinitely rechargeable, though, so that's not a possibility yet. (Not to mention the possible effects a magnetic field might have on the electronics.)

No mention of possible benefits to patients with pancreatic cancer. Too bad, I've personally known three people who've passed from it and a lot more people who've lost loved ones.

DVS BSTrD:

What kind of lesson is this for kids? Eat crappy food, grow up to become a cyborg.

Correct me if I'm wrong but the "eat bad foods to much" Diabetes is type 2. Type 1 is what this is made to treat.

So...correct me if I'm wrong, but the machine still doesn't make insulin does it?

Finally, a good news story. I wonder if that is also going to benefit people with pancreatic cancer?

Eric the Orange:

DVS BSTrD:

What kind of lesson is this for kids? Eat crappy food, grow up to become a cyborg.

Correct me if I'm wrong but the "eat bad foods to much" Diabetes is type 2. Type 1 is what this is made to treat.

This is true, but I seem to recall an article about bad diet increases the risk of type 1, although not by much.

poiumty:
Hmm. doesn't the software need recharging? Something that works on electrical impulses can't possibly have an infinity of them stored up.

If so, how do you do it? Do you open the patient back up and change the batteries?
Because that's pretty damn rough.

Also, yes I would trust an algorithm. Algorithms never make mistakes unless they weren't programmed properly in the first place. And chances are, if it's already been extensively tested... it isn't a matter of "trust".

I might be talking out of my arse here, but couldn't it get energy from the body it's in?

Or how are pace makers powered? I know nothing here.

DVS BSTrD:
image

Cool Story Bro

What kind of lesson is this for kids? Eat crappy food, grow up to become a cyborg.

....

seems legit.

~~
Also, OMFG EMP GRENADE

/immaturity

=_=

Hevva:
Would you trust an algorithm with anything more complicated than regulating your heartbeat?

Not sure I see where the relationship between blood sugar and insulin is all that complex. Simple feedback control aiming to keep some variable at a particular threshold is a well studied idea, I'd trust it to do just fine with the regulatory loops in the body.

Hell, even the body's own mechanisms don't handle it perfectly - eat something highly sugary and the sudden influx into the blood can cause a flood of insulin that results in over-correction (a 'sugar crash', or just feeling hungry again sooner than if you'd consumed equal calories worth of starch). A computerised feedback controller could be tuned to reduce or eliminate that kind of overshoot.

I had Deus Ex: Human Revolution flashbacks almost immediately.

Anyway, good news for wealthy diabetics.

Emiscary:
I had Deus Ex: Human Revolution flashbacks almost immediately.

Anyway, good news for wealthy diabetics.

Or those living in a developed country which isn't the US.

poiumty:
Hmm. doesn't the software need recharging? Something that works on electrical impulses can't possibly have an infinity of them stored up.

The same way they recharge pacemaker with an induction coil

So that $1 boot I bought from Taco Bell 10 years ago is finally paying off. I was worried for a long time. Next up, those breast cancer ribbons!

Only question remains does it plug in with SATA or Molex?

poiumty:
So do they last a lifetime or do they need replacement? Because we haven't taken such a great leap if we still need to do a surgery once in a while to change the batteries.

Wonder when usb ports will be developed that will allow people to charge the devices within themselves. Like, sticking out of the skin or something. That's when the real human revolution will begin.

Depending on how much energy they need, it's entirely possible to power it using the patients body heat or the like. There's a few prototypes using things like that.

If not, there's not a major problem with the batteries, to be perfectly honest. Worst case scenario, you can put the batteries right next to wherever the patient inserts the insulin, which means ready access to it without any need for surgery.

Today robot pancreas, tomorrow robot arms.

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN PATRICK SWAYZE NEEDED YOU?! HUH?! WHERE?!

OT: This is fantastic news!

So, do I HAVE to get diabetes if I want an artificial pancreas? Because I want one. Badly.

Boris Goodenough:

Eric the Orange:

DVS BSTrD:

What kind of lesson is this for kids? Eat crappy food, grow up to become a cyborg.

Correct me if I'm wrong but the "eat bad foods to much" Diabetes is type 2. Type 1 is what this is made to treat.

This is true, but I seem to recall an article about bad diet increases the risk of type 1, although not by much.

No it can hasten the onset, but only in people that would get it at some point in their life anyway. So you're talking about, if you eat a little bit healthier you might put it off by a year at most, but you'll get it. For those not born with the symptoms immediately, most of the time it's the onset of puberty that makes it manifest.

Anyone else getting Repo Men flashbacks?

...

Yeah, I'll just aim at trying to eat healthy and maintain my 100% organic body the best I can.

Not that I'm against lifesaving technology, I'm just not eager to do it myself.

It sounds good especially if you hate injections and checking your blood glucose levels, however I'm not too sure how many people would want to have this on them:

Just to clarify, Type 1 diabetes is a genetic disorder it will usually manifest itself in the first 20 years of life and is not caused by a bad diet. This is where the beta cells in the pancreas stop producing insulin meaning sugars aren't take up by other body parts. This machine helps provide the insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by a bad diet, and is where too much sugar causes your body to become insulin resistant therefore not reacting to the insulin (produced by the pancreas) as much and therefore less sugar is being taken up. The machine can do nothing for this condition, as the person's pancreas is fine and their cells are not reacting to insulin anyway.

Just in case you wanted to know.

And how many power nodes will I have to collect to get this aug?

Kodlak:

Where'd that picture come from? Isn't that just a regular insulin pump?

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