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Clinical Trials Could Lead to FDA Approval for Artificial Pancreas

 Reported by: Irina Robu, PhD

Approximately 1.25 million American have type 1 diabetes accroding to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A device that automatically monitors and regulates blood-sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes developed by University of Virginia School of Medicine undergo two clinical trials starting early 2016.

The goal of the artificial pancreas is to eliminate the need for people with type 1 diabetes to stick their fingers multiple times daily to check their blood-sugar levels and to inject insulin manually.The artificial pancreas is designed to oversee and adjust insulin delivery as needed. At the center of the artificial pancreas platform is a reconfigured smartphone running advanced algorithms that is linked wirelessly to a blood-sugar monitor and an insulin pump, as well as a remote-monitoring site. People with the artificial pancreas can also access assistance via telemedicine.

Beneficial results from these long-term clinical trials examining how the artificial pancreas works in real-life settings could lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other international regulatory groups to approve the device for use by people with type 1 diabetes, whose bodies do not produce enough insulin. The trials will conducted at nine locations in the U.S. and Europe sustained by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

The first study – the International Diabetes Closed-Loop trial – will test technology developed at UVA by a research team led by Boris Kovatchev, director of the UVA Center for Diabetes Technology. That technology has been refined for clinical use by TypeZero Technologies, a startup company in Charlottesville that has licensed the UVA system. The second trial will examine a new control algorithm developed by the team of Dr. Francis Doyle III at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to test whether it further improves control of blood-sugar levels.

Along with UVA, the artificial pancreas will be tested at eight additional sites: Harvard University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, University of Colorado, Stanford University, University of Montpellier in France, University of Padova in Italy and Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands.

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