Dr Aidin Rawshani

Artificial pancreas: an artificial pancreas for people with diabetes


Artificial pancreas

The human pancreas, which in medical language is called the pancreas, is amazing. It detects when blood sugar rises and then releases insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone that allows the cells of the body to absorb glucose contained in the food and which is the body’s primary fuel. But the pancreas can also secrete glucagon, which is another hormone if blood sugar falls. Glucagon leads to the liver sending out glucose as it is stored and this allows glucagon to counteract a fall in blood sugar.

The question is: can we imitate the functioning of the pancreas with the help of today’s technology?

The answer is, yes, but not completely.

Today, scientists have managed to create an artificial pancreas, which is called the artificial pancreas, using technical equipment. An artificial pancreas has a component that measures blood sugar and a component that injects insulin when blood sugar rises. In recent years, three different artificial pancreatic systems have been developed:

  • Closed-loop artificial pancreas
  • Bionic pancreas
  • Implanted artificial pancreas.

The most commonly used method is closed-loop, which involves connecting an insulin pump and a continuous glucose meter (CGM). The glucose meter analyzes blood sugar continuously, and the insulin pump injects insulin when necessary. A mathematical algorithm in the computer determines when and how much insulin is needed.

A bionic pancreas has all the same as a closed-loop, although it can also inject glucagon to raise blood sugar if needed.

Implanted pancreas means implanting a gel that releases insulin depending on blood sugar levels, and the implanted apparatus can then be filled with a new gel.

Medtronics Minimed 670G (photo above) is a type of closed-loop pancreas with an automatic release of insulin.

Is this relevant for type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Artificial pancreas is likely to be the standard treatment for anyone with type 1 diabetes.

People who have had type 2 diabetes for many years may need insulin and for these people, artificial pancreas may become relevant in the future.

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