International Diabetes Center had a pivotal role in testing the artificial pancreas

International Diabetes Center (IDC) played an important role in testing of the artificial pancreas, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved in September. IDC is part of HealthPartners Institute.

IDC was one of 10 research centers that studied the safety and effectiveness of the Medtronic-developed device.

Artificial pancreas mimics action of the human pancreas

The artificial pancreas helps people with type 1 diabetes through a glucose sensor that checks blood sugar levels every five minutes, 24/7. It then sends the results wirelessly to an insulin pump that has a program that determines how much insulin to deliver.

The pump stops delivering insulin if the sensor sends the signal that the blood sugar is low or is even heading toward being low. The pump also increases the insulin being delivered if the blood sugar is high or headed up at a fast rate.

Safe and effective

Testing of the artificial pancreas showed that it reduced hemoglobin A1C (an indicator of average blood sugar levels over three months) by 0.5% and met all the safety criteria.

This means that patients who used the device had no severe hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood sugar) or diabetic ketoacidosis (a serious consequence of insufficient insulin leading to very high blood sugars), said IDC Executive Director Richard Bergenstal, MD. “What it means is that we have a way for patients to meet some of their health goals and also live their life,” he said.

The results of the IDC study of the artificial pancreas were also published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and featured in the StarTribune and on Fox 9 news.