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Engineering new weapons in the fight against juvenile diabetes
Date:6/6/2011

Troy, N.Y. Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are combining automation techniques from oil refining and other diverse areas to help create a closed-loop artificial pancreas. The device will automatically monitor blood sugar levels and administer insulin to patients with Type 1 diabetes, and aims to remove much of the guesswork for those living with the chronic disease.

For six years, Professor B. Wayne Bequette, a member of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer, has been creating progressively more advanced computer control systems for a closed-loop artificial pancreas. His work stands to benefit the 15,000 children and 15,000 adults who are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, every year in the United States.

"Every single person with Type 1 diabetes has a different response to insulin and a different response to meals," Bequette said. "These responses also vary with the time of day, type of meal, stress level, and exercise. A successful automated system must be safe and reliable in spite of these widely varying responses."

For Bequette, the fight against Type 1 diabetes is also personal. His younger sister developed the disease early in life, when the state of diabetes care was not nearly as advanced as today.

Bequette's work is funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He frequently publishes research findings in the journals Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, and Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, of which he is a founding member of the editorial board. His most recent study, titled "A Closed-Loop Artificial Pancreas Based on Risk Management," may be viewed online at: http://bit.ly/ls4vTl

In Type 1 diabetes, an individual's pancreas produces little or no insulin. As a result, they must inject insulin several times every day, or use an insulin
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Contact: Michael Mullaney
mullam@rpi.edu
518-276-6161
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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