Artificial PancreasTreatment of Type 1 Diabetes

The Artificial Pancreas Guinea Pig


There’s a sleepy tempo that often accompanies evening fundraisers for good causes. Attendees use up their social energy during the cocktail hour and begin to lose steam as the long work day catches up with them. Once the lights dim and the speeches begin, eyelids grow heavy.

This was the pleasant way a recent JDRF New England event was progressing until Thomas Brobson took the floor and began to talk about advances in artificial pancreas technology. Suddenly, the energy in the room crackled as parents of children with T1 felt a surge of hope. Listeners sat up straight and began to scratch hasty notes. There were even a few audible gasps.

That’s because Brobson, JDRF’s national director of research and investment opportunities, was detailing the leaps AP technology has made in just the last decade. For Brobson, these advances are not just something he’s read about, but something he’s experienced. Brobson believes integrated technology will play a huge part in shaping a functional T1 cure in the near future. That’s one reason why he is a dedicated T1 tech geek who uses a pump and a CGM.

“I have a lot of stuff attached to my body,” Brobson said. “It’s really fun going through TSA at the airport.”

Brobson has gleefully volunteered to try out new tech solutions to control BG. When JDRF committed to funding research in artificial pancreas technology in 2006, Brobson raised his hand to be a guinea pig. In 2007, he began to take part in human clinical trials of artificial pancreas technology through the University of Virginia Center for Diabetes Technology.

His first time being hooked up to an AP was definitely a clinical experience. He had IVs in both arms, one for insulin and one for glucagon, and he was forced to wear as heavy of clothing as he could stand to keep liquids from clotting. While the AP delivered great BG control, Brobson says it obviously wasn’t designed to be practical.

“Going to the bathroom involved me and 3 other people,” Brobson said.

But everything changed in AP development with the advent of the smartphone and wireless technology. When Brobson went back for another trial in the fall of 2012, the new technology had improved to such an extent that he didn’t have to stay in the hospital. The new design involved smart pumps and CGMs working in concert to keep BG in optimal range with minimal user input. Brobson simply had to set a few parameters using a smartphone-like device.

“Literally, they just handed me this phone and said, ‘Go live your life,’” Brobson said.

It was better than that: they told him it was mandatory to eat out at restaurants. Brobson said he needed very little encouragement; he went right out to a restaurant and had a cheeseburger and an ice cream sundae (he couldn’t bring himself to eat fries with that, however). The AP-like system performed just as expected, automatically working to keep his BG in optimal range. Throughout his short time testing out the system, Brobson had to do very little, only occasionally adjusting the pump with two simple-to-operate buttons on his phone-like device.

It should be noted here that this outpatient device did not include glucagon, an essential ingredient in mimicking the closed-loop system of a functioning pancreas. The biggest hurdle to including glucagon in such a system is that researchers haven’t yet devised a reliable way to maintain the substance in usable form at room temperature. (Some people with T1 diabetes who follow AP progress believe that any system must include glucagon to be considered a true AP.)

Brobson notes that there are many different opinions of what a T1 cure looks like, and all of them have validity. He believes a cure must make it possible for people with T1 to not have to constantly think about having T1, much like people with high blood pressure often don’t have to constantly think about their condition.

For the next step, researchers at the University of Virginia now want to have people with T1 test out the AP-like technology for 6 months at a time. To fund that trial will require raising some $10 million. Once the next phase is funded, if the trial protocol allows repeat volunteers, you can guess who might be first to raise his hand to take part.

Thanks for reading this Insulin Nation article. Want more Type 1 news? Subscribe here.

Have Type 2 diabetes or know someone who does? Try Type 2 Nation, our sister publication.

Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.

Related Articles


  1. “Just want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity on your put up is just spectacular and i could assume you are knowledgeable in this subject. Fine together with your permission allow me to snatch your feed to stay updated with coming near near post. Thanks one million and please carry on the enjoyable work.”

  2. Great goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too great.
    I actually like what you have acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which
    you say it. You make it entertaining and you still
    care for to keep it smart. I can’t wait to
    read far more from you. This is really a great site.

  3. qsckfjoxxut,Definitely believe that which you said. Your favourite justification appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to remember of.

  4. Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; many of us have created
    some nice methods and we are looking to swap techniques with others,
    why not shoot me an email if interested.

  5. epzspgjs,Thanks a lot for providing us with this recipe of Cranberry Brisket. I’ve been wanting to make this for a long time but I couldn’t find the right recipe. Thanks to your help here, I can now make this dish easily.

  6. calqafl,We have a team of experts who could get you the correct settings for Bellsouth net email login through which, you can easily configure your email account with MS Outlook.

  7. ilvizgrmm,If you are going for best contents like I do, just go to see this web page daily because it offers quality contents, thanks!

  8. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.

    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful
    post. Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!

  9. Game Killer Apk Download Latest Version for Android (No Ad) … Guess not because Game killer full version app is not available on Play store.

  10. Hi! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.
    Is it tough to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast.
    I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to start.
    Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Cheers

  11. Dalio said that he became a capitalist when he was 12 years old, when he earned his first salary by sending newspapers, mowing lawns and helping people with golf clubs, and in the stock market in the 1960s.

  12. “At the beginning of the Yuan… a familiar name, how do you feel like you heard it, its weird.” The little boy scratched his head and muttered to himself.

  13. Every weekend i used to pay a quick visit
    this site, as i wish for enjoyment, since this this site conations really
    pleasant funny material too.

  14. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot.
    I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me.

  15. Whether its messing with the cat, tearing apart your favorite pair of shoes, or just getting into general mischief, its hard to stay mad at them when they look so darn cute when caught.

  16. Raja appeared in prison overalls, his head bowed and his hands clasped during testimony from both his relatives and the victim’s. His lip trembled with emotion as his wife described how he had sent three letters a day from prison, one each for her and their two children.

  17. Our editorial team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the products and deals we love. If you love them too and decide to purchase through the links below, we may receive a commission.

  18. 479638 814157You completed several great points there. I did specific searches on the issue and located numerous men and women go in conjunction with along with your weblog. 536462

  19. I wanted more than just a chance at motherhood; having children has always been a dream. For as long as I can remember Ive pictured starting a family one dayjust one day very far in the future. Adding to the ambiguity,Jordan Im in a queer,Jordan same-sex relationship,Jordan and I hadnt even begun to think about how my partner and I might go about having kids. We werent even certain wed end up together. Weve been dating for almost two years,Jordan and while it seems likely that we are heading in the direction of marriage at some point,Jordan we are definitely not ready to have kids together. Wed barely talked about moving in together or whether shed come to the next Thanksgiving,Jordan let alone whether wed want to conceive biologically,Jordan adopt,Jordan or foster. We were,Jordan and are,Jordan at the beginning of considering a life togethera time that should be filled with the glow of possibility,Jordan the freedom to dream without commitment.

  20. howtmzvz,Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and will bwcfckrz,come back from now on. I want to encourage that you continue your great writing, have a nice afternoon!

  21. 65863 715026Its always very good to learn guidelines like you share for weblog posting. As I just started posting comments for blog and facing problem of lots of rejections. I feel your suggestion would be helpful for me. I will let you know if its work for me too. 140886

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button