The Mind Behind the Artificial Pancreas that Could Change the Lives of Diabetics

07/11/2016 - 5 minutes

We had the opportunity to talk with Roman Hovorka, from The University of Cambridge, who’s working on a revolutionary medical device that can automatically improve glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes.

An artificial pancreas is a device that measures glucose levels and responds by injecting the right amount of insulin required at any moment in a person with type 1 diabetes. This futuristic concept is actually not so far from reality: the FDA recently approved Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G, the first such automated device for type 1 diabetes. However, although it is a huge advancement, the system is still not fully automatic, which means that the user needs to control insulin delivery manually after every meal.

Roman Hovorka, from The University of Cambridge, is already working on a better version: his research focuses on developing an algorithm that can predict glucose levels in any situation. In a chat with us, he explained this cutting-edge technology.

How do you build a fully automated artificial pancreas?

It can be easily be built from parts already available on the market: a subcutaneous sensor that measures blood glucose every 1-5 min and an insulin pump that delivers the desired amount of the hormone at the right time.

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