Decades of JDRF support leads to largest ever artificial pancreas trial

Posted on 06 January 2016

Researchers in countries across North America and Europe have received funding for a project studying artificial pancreas technology, in one of the largest ever trials of its kind.A person wearing a CGM and insulin pump must still adjust their insulin dose

This $12.7 million of funding is from the Special Diabetes Programme of the United States National Institutes of Health, ringfenced funding for diabetes research that JDRF helps to secure through our grassroots advocacy work.

The funding enables an international team of researchers led by Dr Boris Kovatchev from the University of Virginia (UVA) to build on their existing successes in developing artificial pancreas technology. JDRF supporters have helped get the research team where they are today, by providing more than $3.5 million of JDRF research awards over the past decade.

The study will include two separate six-month trials, commencing early this year. The first will enrol 240 people at the nine study sites in the United States and in France, Italy and the Netherlands, with participants being followed for six months as they go about their normal life. The second trial will follow 180 of these participants for a further six months and adopts a different algorithm which will help the researchers to gain extra knowledge about how much insulin to deliver and when it should be delivered. If the results of these trials are positive, they will go a long way towards gaining regulatory approval for this artificial pancreas system- which is in itself a critical step in making artificial pancreas technology available for all people with type 1.

The inControl AP software developed by the UVA team is an algorithm that links insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors to automate insulin delivery. The technology aims to prevent dangerous blood glucose highs and lows in people with type 1 diabetes. The research team has licensed the inControl AP platform to the startup TypeZero Technologies for the purpose of commercializing the software, subject to FDA approval.

As Rachel Connor, Head of Research Communication at JDRF in the UK, explains: ‘This trial is significant, not just as the largest trial of artificial pancreas technology to date, but because it marks a major step towards the artificial pancreas being commercially available.’

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