Research Communications Manager, JDFR type 1 diabetes charity
We know that investing in the research that matters to people with type 1 diabetes is key, along with ensuring that the benefits of new technologies reach the people who need it most.
Ten years ago, people with type 1 diabetes told us, through the James Lind Alliance’s Priority Setting Partnership (PSP), that the development of an effective artificial pancreas system was a top priority for improving their lives. Today, the artificial pancreas has moved from research to reality.
An artificial pancreas uses existing technology for managing type 1 diabetes – an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM). But it also adds an algorithm, which tells the pump how much insulin to deliver based on blood glucose readings it takes from the CGM. The algorithm thus automates the bulk of the large number of decisions that people with type 1 diabetes have to make every day – significantly relieving the burden of managing the condition.
Investing in research
Since 2006, we have been conducting international research into the artificial pancreas, investing a total of £90 million and bringing together brilliant minds. The clear appetite for this technology from people with type 1 diabetes, highlighted by the PSP, galvanised us even more.
In 2020, JDRF-funded research led by Professor Roman Hovorka at University of Cambridge made the breakthrough and the world’s first downloadable artificial pancreas app was launched. This enabled people with type 1 diabetes to manage the artificial pancreas from their mobile phone, a development described by people using it as ‘life-changing’ and even ‘magic’.
This enabled people with type 1 diabetes to manage the artificial pancreas from their mobile phone, a development described by people using it as ‘life-changing’ and even ‘magic’.
Since its launch, we have been working to make this potentially life-changing technology available to everybody with type 1 diabetes who needs it – regardless of postcode, economic status, ethnicity or other factors. Now available in 30 NHS locations across England, we continue to work with partners to broaden access across the UK.