Achieving a Closed-Loop Artificial Pancreas

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by Kameel Abi-Samra (BME 240, Spring 2009, UC Irvine)

Design Criteria


            It is clear that to date science has made large strides in treating Type 1 Diabetes via Surgical Approaches, Biological Approaches, and Mechanical Approaches. We need to continue research in these avenues to continue progress, while keeping in mind these three approaches do not have to be mutually independent when designing a closed-loop artificial pancreas. The next breakthrough could very well make use of all three approaches. Regardless of the method, the next generation closed-loop artificial pancreas will have to meet the following design criteria:

  • Mimic the function of a Beta Cell

    • Solution should sense ambient glucose concentrations and release insulin accordingly. (See Clinical Background for more information)


  • Biocompatibility

    • The final product should cause a minimal immune response in the recipient. Ideally it would produce none at all.

    • The toxicity of a materials and substances used during the manufacturing should be factored into the manufacturing.


  • Lifespan

    • Ideally a closed-loop artificial pancreas should have a lifespan as long as the recipient.

    • Too short of a lifespan  would mean that the patient would have to return for a replacement surgery. With every surgery the risks of complications will compound.


  • Manufacturability/ Reproducibility

    • Ultimately all medical devices are produced by profit making companies, thus it is very important to have an approach that is relatively easy to manufacture, and, more importantly, repeatable.

    • A product easy to reproduce will also lower the final cost for the end user.


  • Cost

    • Once again, medical devices are produced by companies and if the approach is too costly it will be very difficult to get the idea off the ground.

    • A product  with a high cost will also make it difficult for patients to afford the device.