Dealing with diabetes, like any major disease, is a challenge. One of the most difficult tasks is consistently checking blood sugar levels, which is achieved by pricking a finger in order to draw blood. However, with the rapid advancement of technology, those with diabetes may soon not need to manually check their blood.
According to a recent report from Time, The National Institutes of Health officially announced that they will be funding the last-stage trials of artificial pancreas devices. The devices are meant to solve the issue of manually checking blood sugar by automating the process altogether.
There are devices that already monitor blood sugar and automatically inject insulin when needed. However, these devices, which were approved last October by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, still require people with diabetes to manually request insulin after they eat.
The new devices being tested are designed specifically to be fully automated and remove any human input whatsoever. One study, which is scheduled to take place in 2018, will be headed by Dr. Steven Russell from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Ed Damiano from Boston University. The study will follow 312 people, aged 18 and older, who will spend six months using a bionic pancreas that uses insulin and glucagon to stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Damiano’s bionic pancreas came to be after his son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. He hopes the bionic pancreas can be improved so that his son will never need to worry about the disease in the future.
In a statement, Dr. Griffin Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, reinforced the want and need for such a device, and how it would change the world of medicine. “For many people with type 1 diabetes, the realization of a successful, fully automated artificial pancreas is a dearly held dream. Nearly 100 years since the discovery of insulin, a successful artificial pancreas would mark another huge step toward better health for people with type 1 diabetes.”
Major technological breakthroughs such as these are exactly what we need in the world of medicine. Not only for those suffering from diabetes, but any other affliction, from cancer to Parkinson’s. Hopefully, these tests will prove fruitful, and at least provide a temporary solution while scientists come up with a cure once and for all.