a6Researchers are reporting a breakthrough toward developing an artificial pancreas as a treatment for diabetes and other conditions by combining mechanical artificial pancreas technology with transplantation of islet cells, which produce insulin.

In a study of 14 patients with pancreatitis who underwent standard surgery and auto-islet transplantation treatments, a closed-loop insulin pump, which relies on a continuous cycle of feedback information related to blood measurements, was better than multiple daily insulin injections for maintaining normal blood glucose levels.

“Use of the mechanical artificial pancreas in patients after islet transplantation may help the transplanted cells to survive longer and produce more insulin for longer,” said Dr. Gregory Forlenza, lead author of the American Journal of Transplantation study. “It is our hope that combining these technologies will aid a wide spectrum of patients, including patients with diabetes, in the future.”

Forlenza, G. P., Nathan, B. M., Moran, A. M., Dunn, T. B., Beilman, G. J., Pruett, T. L. and Bellin, M. D. (2015), Successful Application of Closed-Loop Artificial Pancreas Therapy After Islet Autotransplantation. American Journal of Transplantation. doi: 10.1111/ajt.13539 Link to Abstract.