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Towards an Artificial Pancreas: An FDA-NIH-JDRF Workshop

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I got this e-mail today. I’m sure most of you did too.

Hi Sara,

I work in the Media Relations Department at JDRF and thought I’d let you know about an upcoming workshop we’re doing next week in Washington , D.C.

Title: Towards an Artificial Pancreas: An FDA-NIH-JDRF Workshop
Info: JDRF is co-hosting a public workshop with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that focuses on the state of the art in the research and development of an artificial pancreas. “Towards an Artificial Pancreas: An FDA-NIH-JDRF Workshop” will be held on July 21 and 22, 2008. It will provide a public forum for discussing the progress and remaining challenges in the development of closed-loop systems designed to regulate glycemic control in diabetics.

The event will be webcasted live via, and will available in an archived form about a week after the event. A written summary will also be posted here at

Download the agenda for the workshop.

Honestly, I don’t hold out much hope for the closed loops system. First, current CGMS models measure interstitial fluid which is not as reliable as blood glucose measured from finger sticks. CGMS users are told not to make a treatment (bolus/carb) decision based on their CGMS results. At least now we have a way of monitoring the results and interpreting them using other sources of information. A closed loop system theoretically reduces this interaction – by design.

Second even the fastest acting insulin lasts for several hours in the body. Even if the closed loop provided a method of hypoglycemic correction using glucagon or something similar, it seems to me that the insulin and the glucagon would be battling for hours.

But if ‘they’ want to prove me wrong, I’m all ears.


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