Progressing toward an Artificial Pancreas: Preventing and Treating Low Blood Glucose

By American Diabetes Association

Dr. Russell (right) with kids at a diabetes summer camp.

While tight regulation of blood glucose levels is important to avoid complications from diabetes, it is difficult to achieve good glycemic control without occasional low blood glucose, or hypoglycemia. In fact, one of the biggest barriers to regulatory approval of an artificial pancreas is the inability of these insulin delivery systems to effectively prevent hypoglycemia.

One approach to this problem is the development of automatic systems that monitor glucose levels and stop the flow of insulin if blood glucose falls too low. This approach may limit the impact of hypoglycemia, but cannot prevent it entirely.

Association-funded researcher Dr. Steven Russell, at Massachusetts General Hospital, is studying another way to address this serious hurdle by developing automated systems that deliver glucagon to prevent hypoglycemia. Dr. Russell’s research has shown that low doses of glucagon delivered automatically by a system that uses continuous glucose monitoring, similar to the closed-loop insulin systems being developed for insulin administration, are effective at preventing hypoglycemia.

Dr. Russell has extended this study to a system using a combination of closed-loop glucagon together with closed-loop insulin delivery. In a recent publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, he reports that this so-called “bionic pancreas,” which administers both insulin and glucagon, improves mean glycemic levels with less frequent hypoglycemic episodes compared to insulin pumps in both adolescents and adults with type 1 diabetes. These promising results will be expanded to larger studies to confirm safety and efficacy of this approach, important for future development and regulatory approval of an artificial pancreas that can effectively prevent hypoglycemia.

Study co-author Dr. Ed Damiano at Boston University is a biomedical engineer and father to a teenage son with type 1 diabetes. He was recently interviewed about the bionic pancreas project for a National Public Radio programThis image is associated with an external link., where he described his drive to invent a solution to his son’s diabetes management burden before his son goes to college.

The study was presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 74th Scientific Sessions in San Francisco and has been featured on several additional news outlets, including CBS NewsThis image is associated with an external link. and Time magazineThis image is associated with an external link..

Steven Russell, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital
ADA-Novo Nordisk Award in Hypoglycemia and Diabetes
Funded for 3 years at $500,000
Supported by Novo Nordisk Inc.


Chief Apostle Shelia Benjamin~Inusah

About Chief Apostle Shelia Benjamin~Inusah

About Apostle Shelia Benjamin~Inusah C.B. Helping Hands Ministries Founder/Overseer / Business owner / Nurse, Friend, Apostle Shelia Benjamin~Inusah, a small town country girl with a big heart. That big heart didn’t go unnoticed by God. At age 8; Apostle Shelia made the most important decision of her life. She decided to follow Christ. It wasn’t long before she heard the calling of God upon her life to reach the lost at any cost. To touch lives, one person at a time. By age 15 she was actively ministering to many in her community. From the young to the elderly, and even the dying; she has made it a priority to care for the souls of those in need. Today Apostle Shelia leads the C.B. Helping Hands Ministries team on a greater call. A call to reach the lost not just in our community but also around the world. C.B. Helping Hands Ministries and Apostle Shelia have become the vessel that God is using to bridge the gap between generations and touch the hearts of a lost, and dying world. Daily she ministers to the homeless, battered women, suicidal people and at risk youth among others. As a John Maxwell certified coach, and speaker she travels the world adding value to others. She is dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and helping others see their true potential. With a never quit attitude and unwavering faith, she has been able to build C.B. Helping Hands Ministries and testify of God’s provisions and unfailing love. Making sure to always give God the honor and praise. She motivates young adults like none other. She has become a renown inspirational speaker like none other. She is real, she is alive, she is on fire and excited about transforming, and adding value to others.. She is new, real, and a breath of fresh air. Called, and anointed for such a time as this.
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