It is challenging for patients with type 1 diabetes to control their glucose levels because tight glucose control increases the incidence of hypoglycemia (dangerously low glucose levels). Insulin pump treatment, which provides a continuous predetermined subcutaneous supply of insulin, is available, but hypoglycemia still occurs.
"Hypoglycemia is feared by most patients and remains the most common adverse effect of insulin therapy," writes Ahmad Haidar, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal and McGill University, with coauthors.
The dual-hormone artificial pancreas delivers insulin and glucagon using infusion pumps based on continuous glucose sensor readings as guided by an intelligent dosing algorithm. The infusion pumps and the glucose sensors are already on the market, but the intelligent algorithm was developed by the researchers in Montreal.