Dr. Patrick Keith-Hynes (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA) and Dr. Claudio Cobelli (University of Padova, Padova, Italy) led the first of two artificial pancreas demonstrations at the 2011 Diabetes Technology Conference*. Their research team has developed a way to wirelessly connect a Dexcom Seven Plus CGM, an Insulet OmniPod pump, and an Android cell phone application that runs the system. (We note that the system is still a prototype and is designed for research, not commercial use. Still, it was cool to see, and it helped us get a sense of what upcoming commercialized devices might look like).
The home screen of the UVA research app features a traffic light icon that shows people whether their glucose is in the target range (green light), slightly too high or low (yellow light), or in more dangerous territory (red light) – a quick, intuitive, and cool-sounding way for someone to get a sense of things with one look at the phone. People can also tell the system when they are about to start exercising and they can manually dial in mealtime boluses (this is an example of a hybrid artificial pancreas, which provides automated basal glucose control but still requires mealtime dosing of insulin).
On a positive note, the system is designed to work with a variety of different insulin pumps, CGM sensors, or software algorithms. Thus it can be widely used by researchers around the world. So far the system has been tested twice outside the hospital, once in Italy and once in France, and overall it performed well both times.
Article Reprinted from DiaTribe Blog Dec. 2011 following annual technology conference in San Francisco, CA.