JDRF announces insulin initiative for artificial pancreas program

NEW YORK The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has expanded its artifical pancreas program with an initiative that will continue its efforts to develop an automated system that can better manage the blood sugar of people with Type 1 diabetes.

JDRF's insulin initiative will fund investigators at leading academic institutions to test novel insulin formulations and delivery systems that may speed insulin action so that Type 1 diabetics one day may be able to skip routine insulin injections. JDRF will fund the following doctors and companies:

  • Dr. Bruce Buckingham of Stanford University to test such an insulin, Viaject, which is currently in development at Connecticut-based Biodel Inc.
  • Dr. W. Kenneth Ward of Oregon Health Sciences University to perform artificial pancreas experiments with Viaject insulin
  • Dr. Howard Zisser at the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute to conduct studies there with Afrezzaa rapid-acting insulin being developed by California's MannKind Corp.; inhaled at mealtime, Afrezza achieves peak insulin levels quickly
  • JDRF recently announced a collaboration with Becton, Dickinson and Co. to develop a microneedle-based delivery system.

In addition, JDRF will provide funding to test two new devices also aimed at providing mechanical means to achieve faster insulin action:

  • Dr. Howard Zisser at the University of California, Santa Barbara's Sansum Diabetes Research Institute testing Roche Diabetes Care's Accu-Chek DiaPort system. The Accu-Chek DiaPort is a percutaneous port system, connected with an external pump, that delivers insulin directly to the liver, the primary site of insulin action
  • Dr. William Tamborlane of Yale University to test a unique warming device, InsuPatch, made by InsuLine Medical. Preliminary data suggests that this device, adaptable to most infusion pumps, considerably accelerates the action of insulin.

"A key to making an artificial pancreas system significantly better than current methods to manage diabetes is to mirror as much as possible how the human pancreas works," said Sanjoy Dutta, Director of JDRF's insulin initiative. "So we either need faster-acting insulin or devices or a combination of the two that more quickly and efficiently deliver insulin.


"Our work to date involving faster-acting insulin reflects the philosophy of JDRF's artificial pancreas project to partner with multiple academic and corporate researchers to speed the development of artificial pancreas systems," Dutta said. "Each of these projects holds promise to demonstrate that faster-acting insulins will help improve glucose control. And that gets us one step closer to much better treatments for people with diabetes, healthier lives, and fewer complications –– while we continue the ultimate search for a cure."

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