Scott King Talks to The Oregonian about Artificial Pancreas
July 16, 2012
A July 10 story in The Oregonian describes work being conducted by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University on using lactose to stabilize the hormone glucagon for use by type 1 diabetics in a computer-controlled pump. For people who inject insulin (or use an insulin pump) and sometimes miscalculate the dose, glucagon can counteract the low blood sugar condition that follows. Current methods of administering glucagon to manage low blood sugar are cumbersome and the material spoils quickly; the researchers hope that adding lactose will enable glucagon to be dispensed more conveniently by pump, monitored by a smartphone app. The ultimate goal of all such projects is a “closed-loop” system with built-in monitoring of insulin and blood sugar levels—a true artificial pancreas. Islet Sheet Medical founder Scott King, asked to comment on the challenges of this research, noted that the computer algorithm for such a system “must be good enough to trust one’s life to it.” So far that goal is still in the future. Read the article online or download a PDF.