Artificial pancreas question

My cousin who is 9 & has type 1 diabetes has become fascinated with the artificial pancreas research. He wants to talk about it in a presentation in his class about something he finds fascinating. We just have some questions about it we can’t find a answers to. Do you need to refill it with insulin and if so how often? Also do you have to change any hardware like you have to change the port, anchor, and needle with the pump? Thanks!

Hopefully someone knowledgable will respond to your questions.  Here's the little I know:

If it's an external system (outside of the body) you have to change the infusion sets/needles because the skin can only absorb so much insulin.  

Researchers are working on internal artificial pancreases too.  The insulin reservoir would have to be refilled periodically (I'm guessing it would be like an outpatient surgical procedure).  There have been challenges finding insulins that don't break down at the 98 degree temperature of the human body and developing glucose sensors still are accurate enough to be relied on.  

I know there have been some human trials worldwide, but have never heard from someone who has been part of them.  

Anyone else have information?

I saw the video on JDRF website where the guy was wearing an artificial pancreas but it didn't explain much just showed the device. I know you have to check your blood sugar periodically to calibrate the device but we are confused by the specifics. I heard one article say the surgically installed the device and just the cell phone sized monitor (like the one the man in the video wore) is the only thing outside the body.

I sent this question to the people at JDRF and hopefully, they will have an answer for you! They will either answer this directly or I will post the answer for you! To be continued!

I use this website.  You will need to help drill down the info but  maybe it will help!

I got a response from JDRF regarding your question...

"Thank you for asking about the Artificial Pancreas, cl062001.

Artificial Pancreas (AP) systems will be external devices that people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) use to help control both high and low blood sugar around the clock.  These systems work by combining a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an insulin pump with sophisticated computer software to automatically provide the right amount of insulin at the right time.  For more information on the AP, as member Robnliegh shared, please see the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project Research page.  Thanks again for your interest in this exciting technology!"

If you need anything else please let me know!



It doesn't really tell me what I wanted to know. I mean do you have to refill the insulin? Do you have to change hardware and if so how often. I know it's an external device and all about the software but how does the insulin not run out.

It's basically just like the pumps and Continuous Glucose Monitors available now, except that the 2 devices can communicate and would release insulin (without being prompted by the user) when blood sugar is high.

So at least every 3 days you put a new infusion site in the skin and refill the insulin reservoir.  And you'd replace the CGM every week.