Company’s Network and Technology Enable Trial of Artificial Pancreas in California
by Janet Brumfield
Kids and teens with Type 1 diabetes are swimming, rock climbing, hiking and playing various field sports in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains – all while testing a device that automatically measures their blood sugar and determines how much insulin they’ll need.
Using Verizon’s technology, campers aged 7 to 17 are participating in a clinical trial of an artificial pancreas at a diabetes summer camp in Boulder Creek, California. The University of Virginia’s Center for Diabetes Technology and the Stanford University School of Medicine are conducting the trial.
The artificial pancreas is a system that measures blood glucose levels every few minutes, using a continuous glucose monitor. A smartphone with special software then transmits this information to an insulin pump that calculates and can release the required amount of insulin into the body. This system, which is worn like an insulin pump, has been termed the “artificial pancreas” because it monitors and adjusts insulin levels just as the pancreas does in people without diabetes.
Currently, diabetics who are insulin-dependent must manually measure levels of glucose in their blood, either by the traditional method of pricking a finger or by using a continuous glucose monitor, a device that senses glucose levels via a needle inserted under the skin. Based on these measurements, diabetics adjust glucose levels by taking multiple injections of insulin daily or by continually infusing insulin with a pump via needles placed under the skin. This traditional method requires careful and persistent work 24 hours a day.
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