JDRF Hosts Key Session on Artificial Pancreas Progress at ADA Scientific Meeting

JDRF Hosts Key Session on Artificial Pancreas Progress at ADA Scientific Meeting


In an acknowledgement of its leadership in driving the development of an artificial pancreas, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation was asked to co-host a special symposium on the dramatic progress in automating diabetes control at this weekend's American Diabetes Association annual Scientific Sessions.  The ADA meeting is a key annual gathering for diabetes researchers worldwide, and the joint JDRF-ADA symposium underscored the partnerships JDRF is forging to bring new treatments and cures to people with type 1 diabetes.

In joining forces with JDRF to host the symposium, the ADA recognized the importance of promoting JDRF's research leading to an artificial pancreas, and of raising awareness about the science now underway.  ADA noted that artificial pancreas technologies could not only significantly improve the lives of people with type 1 diabetes, but could have a major impact on those with type 2 who are insulin-dependent, a key part of ADA's constituency.

"This joint symposium highlights how major organizations working together can move these technologies forward," said Richard Bergenstal, M.D., Executive Director of the International Diabetes Center and the ADA's President, Medicine & Science. "It's going to require collaboration between many different organizations to come together to tackle this problem."

JDRF was happy to have the opportunity to outline the progress of its Artificial Pancreas Project to the larger diabetes research community.

"It's very exciting to work together to help people with diabetes achieve their outcomes," said Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., who directs JDRF's Artificial Pancreas Project. "We're all interested in people with diabetes achieving better glucose control. The community needs to hear what's happening and where we are headed."

At the symposium - "The Artificial Pancreas - A Goal within Reach?" -JDRF-funded researchers announced new, previously unpublished findings that further underscore the potential for the artificial pancreas to improve the lives of people with diabetes. The speakers predicted that early generation artificial pancreas technology could become commercially available within a matter of years.

In the first study, an artificial pancreas system improved overnight glucose control across a range of "real-life situations" in adults - and did so without increasing the risk of dangerous low blood sugar.  The findings were presented by Roman Hovorka, Ph.D., Principal Research Associate at the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories.  Dr. Hovorka has been a key member of JDRF's Artificial Pancreas Project since the program's beginnings.

By using an artificial pancreas system, adults in the study spent 70 percent of the time overnight within a target blood glucose range, compared with only 47 percent of the time without using an artificial pancreas.  And to demonstrate the real-life benefits of AP technology, the study showed that these benefits remain consistent even after adults ate a large meal and drank a glass of white wine before bedtime. As in the other studies, dangerous low blood sugar - hypoglycemia - was reduced, even though alcohol is known to increase the risk of nighttime hypoglycemia for people with diabetes

A second study helped to identify the "psychosocial characteristics" of people with type 1 diabetes, in order to show those most likely to successfully use continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices (an important component of an artificial pancreas system). This data, presented by Marilyn Ritholz, Ph.D, Senior Psychologist at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, will help physicians and other diabetes care providers to identify patients that the new devices are most likely to benefit.

The Joslin Center research found that people who used problem-solving skills for coping with frustration and anger, or saw CGM as a way to better understand their diabetes, or had good support from family members were most likely to achieve good results with the technology.  On the other hand, people with anger and impulse control issues, who failed to synthesize the data from CGM, and who didn't have good support were less likely to benefit.

A number of other JDRF-related studies and announcements were made in conjunction with the ADA sessions. For more information about the studies and the symposium, click here.

Lets turn type one into type none