JDRF Launches Research Program to Help in the Development of the Artificial Pancreas
Today, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) announced an important step in the development of the artificial pancreas: an automatic system of delivering insulin to control blood sugar of people with type 1 diabetes.
To do this, the JDRF has established a research program to advance the development of faster-acting insulin, a very important step for this new technology.
The objective is to use faster-acting insulin in an artificial pancreas system to closely copy the action of a human pancreas in detecting blood sugar and delivering insulin in response to control the blood sugar levels.
The system will consist of a pump to deliver the insulin, and a blood sugar monitoring device acting in a closed loop with the insulin pump and computer algorithm, creating a whole device which will work independently from human control. This will be a revolutionary and life-changing advance for people living with diabetes.
One way to improve the speed of insulin action is to reformulate the molecule. The JDRF will be funding Dr. Bruce Buckingham of Stanford University to test insulin, Viaject, which is currently being developed by Connecticut-based Biodel Inc. The JDRF will also be funding Dr Kenneth Ward of Oregon Health Sciences University to undertake artificial pancreas experiments with Viaject Insulin.
Along with the development of faster acting insulin, the JDRF will be funding research in new delivery systems. Currently, insulin is delivered subcutaneously (under the surface of the skin). This contributes to the slow insulin action compared to insulin made and delivered from the pancreas.
The JDRF will provide grant funding to Dr. Howard Zisser at the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute to perform studies there with Afrezza, rapid-acting insulin being developed by California's MannKind Corporation. This insulin is inhaled at mealtime and achieves peak insulin levels quickly.
The JDRF is a leader for diabetes research worldwide, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of type 1 research. The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.