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Scientists Create Bionic Pancreas

People with type 1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin, a hormone found in the pancreas that controls the amount of sugar in your blood. Left unchecked, sugar will build up in the blood stream and cause many adverse complications.

Recently, scientists have been running tests on a new “bionic pancreas” that can monitor and adjust blood sugar levels. The device consists of a sensor, monitoring device, and a smartphone app. The sensor is placed underneath the user’s skin and sends hormone level data to the monitoring device which in turn sends all of the information to the user’s phone app. Based on the data, the app calculates how much insulin or glucagon the body needs and instructs the hormone-filled pumps to administer the correct amount.

There have been various trials with the bionic pancreas including diabetic pigs and adults. The FDA approved the bionic pancreas for three transitional outpatient studies over the next 18 months. In upcoming studies, the device will be tested in more real world scenarios and less surveillance.

If these trials end successfully, the bionic pancreas will be developed further. This development will continue until the device no longer requires a smartphone app.

According to The Financial Express, “[The device] will be tested in hundreds of participants with type 1 diabetes over a six-month period, with the results compared against participants in a control group using their usual care routine.”

Damiano hopes that the bionic pancreas will be approved by the FDA and start being sold by 2017, says USA Today.

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