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Bionic pancreas

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Biomedical engineers at Imperial College London designed an intelligent insulin pump for diabetes patients. This biomimetic approach diverges from today's dominant method of delivering only insulin using a relatively simple control system. In a small clinical trial of 10 patients, they have been testing a device controlled by the microchip's cell models at two London hospitals. The device will infuse both insulin and glucagon by following a pattern that mimics the unique electrical characteristics of alpha and beta cells.The device consists of an electrochemical glucose sensor that penetrates the skin, the microchip, and two small pumps worn on the body, one for each hormone. Every 5 minutes, the sensor detects the person's glucose level. If the sensor reports a high level of glucose, the silicon beta cell generates a signal that drives a motor. The motor pushes a syringe, dispensing insulin into the tissue beneath the skin until the glucose reading at the sensor drops and the beta cell goes silent.

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 1 )