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Artificial Pancreas for Diabetics

Artificial Pancreas is the promising technology that is aimed to aid diabetic patients to manage their diabetes by basically providing a synthetic or man made pancreas that functions like the real organ that automatically controls blood sugar levels. The Artificial Pancreas is basically seen as a replacement part for a defective pancreas.

The Pancreas has exocrine (digestive) and endocrine (hormonal) functions but the artificial pancreas is basically focused on the latter for managing the blood sugar level. As such, the artificial pancreas must balance or manage the secretion of three hormones for sugar control namely, insulin, for lowers blood glucose, glucagon, for raising the blood glucose and amylin for decelerating digestion that regulate entry of sugar in the bloodstream. This new technology is aimed to enhance insulin replacement therapy up until sugar control is normalized as evinced by the prevention of the hyperglycemia and to alleviate the inconvenience of therapy for the insulin-dependent diabetic.

There are basically three approaches considered in the development of Artificial Pancreas namely, medical equipment, bioengineering and the gene therapy. The first pertains to the creation of medical device that acts as an insulin pump that is uses a continuous blood glucose sensor that will signal the pump to release insulin. The bioengineering approach on the other hand involves the development of a bio-artificial pancreas that is surgically implanted in the body of a patient. Finally, the gene therapy approach involves infecting the patient with a genetically engineered virus that will cause a malfunction in which the defective pancreas will be insulin-producing.

Among the three, the medical equipment approach is currently leading research in which a device is attached to a patient that imitate the function of pancreas particularly the secretion of insulin and glucagon as signaled by a continuous monitoring included in the device. Called the artificial pancreas device system (APDS), the device automatically monitors blood sugar levels and provides appropriate insulin doses as the need arises.

As of the moment the Artificial Pancreas that promises to help Type 1 diabetes patients in injecting insulin and managing diabetes is till in the key Outpatient Testing phase and are still not commercially available.

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