A new device that has been called a bionic pancreas has researchers excited about potential benefits for people with type 1 diabetes. In this condition the immune system attacks the pancreas, which becomes unable to produce insulin in response to rises in blood sugar. Instead, people with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar closely and inject insulin to more closely mimic the body’s own natural process. This is challenging, and even conscientious patients may not be able to avoid all unhealthy peaks and valleys in blood sugar.

The new device contains two pumps, one with insulin to lower blood sugar when necessary and the other with glucagon to raise it to normal levels. It is connected to a continuous blood glucose monitor. By constantly keeping track of blood sugar and responding when it exceeds healthy parameters, the bionic pancreas can maintain more natural blood sugar levels.


In the People’s Pharmacy perspective, this could be a wonderful technological advance. It remains to be seen if it can truly mimic natural blood sugar control and if it reduces the complications of type 1 diabetes. We also wonder what it will cost, as that has not been discussed in the news reports on this new device.

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  1. pp
    Reply

    to M-l Lawrence: Tell your son to read Justice Sotomaier’s autobiography; or at least the parts where she talks about managing her disease since age 8 or 9 and as an adult. At least there would be someone who understands his situation.

  2. M-L Lawrence
    Reply

    This is great news, but this sounds like there are three insertion sites. My 20 yo son refuses to have two, much less three. He’s had Juvenile Diabetes since he was 9 months old. He used to have such good control……. Not anymore. He’s so tired of this disease. :-(

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