Smartphones and the artificial pancreas -

Smartphones and the artificial pancreas

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Researchers are dialing into smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth for the next big step toward the artificial pancreas. Backers hope the work could lay a foundation for other automated, in-home tests, lowering costs and improving quality of healthcare.

Today multiple companies market continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps. However, so far no one has fielded a system that connects the two devices and automates the process of delivering insulin based on real-time readings.

As many as a dozen research groups around the world are at work developing the key algorithms. Most are poised to extend trials from tests of a couple dozen patients overnight to several hundred patients in trials lasting several weeks.

“I could see something on the market perhaps two to three years out,” says John Pritchard, commercial director of diagnostics and life sciences at Cambridge Consultants Ltd.

The company is developing an app that will embed an algorithm under development by Roman Hovorka, a principal investigator at Addenbrooke Hospital in Cambridge, UK. Roman conducted bedside trials using notebook computers and plans to expand his work to home-based trials using smartphone or tablets later this year.

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