Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Bionic Pancreas Shows Promise for Type 1 Diabetes

Device removes guesswork from insulin therapy, reduces low blood sugar episodes, study finds

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The "bionic pancreas" -- a device that uses a sophisticated computer program working in concert with several diabetes management devices -- successfully managed blood sugar levels in its first real-world trials on adults and children with type 1 diabetes.

What may be even more important is that the device took away the constant monitoring that's required with type 1 diabetes.

"It's difficult for people who don't live with type 1 diabetes to understand how much work it is. It's such a burden. But, everyone in the trial said that burden was all lifted. The device is inherently automated -- it's diabetes without the numbers," said study senior author Edward Damiano, an associate professor in the department of biomedical engineering at Boston University. Damiano understands the issue more keenly than most, as he is the father of a 15-year-old son with type 1 diabetes.

Damiano said the device "exceeded our expectations, reducing average [blood-sugar levels] to what's well below standard-care therapy, while at the same time reducing [low blood-sugar levels]."

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease caused by a mistaken attack on healthy insulin-producing cells in the body, destroying them. Insulin is a hormone necessary for ushering sugar into cells to provide fuel for those cells. People with type 1 must replace the insulin their bodies no longer produce through injections or through a tiny catheter attached to an insulin pump.

However, figuring out exactly how much insulin to give is no easy task. Both too much insulin and too little insulin can have dangerous, even deadly, consequences.

Here's how the bionic pancreas can help. It contains two hormones -- insulin and glucagon. Insulin lowers blood sugar and glucagon can raise blood sugar quickly. The current version of the bionic pancreas had two insulin pumps -- one that delivered small doses of insulin and the second for glucagon. The device also included a smartphone with an app that contained the computer program to control the pumps. The phone also wirelessly communicated with a continuous glucose monitor that constantly reported blood sugar levels.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
jennie brand miller

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner