Achieving a Closed-Loop Artificial Pancreas

Home Clinical Background Current Approaches Design Criteria References

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

Clinical Background



         Type 1 diabetes, also known as Diabetes Mellitus Type 1, is an autoimmune disease in which the insulin-generating cells of the pancreas, the beta cells, are attacked and destroyed by the immune system of an individual. Without the beta cells the individual is unable to produce insulin which is required for the uptake of glucose into cells. This in turn leaves elevated of glucose in the blood which exits the body via the urine. When cells cannot uptake glucose they, essentially, starve.  Since this condition usually occurs in children it is also more commonly known as "Juvenile Diabetes". The Center for Disease Control estimates that 5-10% of the United State's population has Type 1 diabetes. In addition, around 151,000 individuals below that age of 20 have the disease. Common symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include:



Weight loss

Increased thirst

Frequent urination

Extreme hunger


Blurred vision

A cure for this disease is very straight forward in theory. We just would need a device or tissue construct that acts like a beta cell where it essentially senses the glucose concentration and releases insulin. Thus, we need to develop a fully implantable artificial closed-loop pancreas that meets the following two criteria:

1) Ability to sense glucose

2) Ability to release insulin dependent on glucose levels

Current Approaches