Today, Rep. Lois Capps (CA-24) announced that Sansum Diabetes Research Institute has been awarded a three-year grant for $2.25 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to continue its work researching diabetes, endocrinology and metabolic research. This research focuses specifically on Type 1 diabetes and the creation of an implantable artificial pancreas.
The goal of the project, titled “An Implantable Intraperitoneal Artificial Pancreas; a quantum leap forward,” is to develop a fully implanted artificial pancreas with the ultimate aim of producing a safe, patient-friendly, cost-effective device that can be commercialized on a large scale and used to improve the health of people with type 1 diabetes worldwide. Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone secreted by the pancreas, but individuals with Type 1 diabetes do not produce the critical hormone.
“Type 1 diabetes can lead to complications that have enormous human and financial costs,” Capps said. “While we have come a long way in treating diabetes, the research being done at Sansum Diabetes Research Institute is critical to combating Type 1 diabetes and putting an end to the instability that comes with the current types of insulin delivery and glucose monitoring. The funding and research being done right here on the Central Coast will ultimately lead to an improved quality of life and lower health care costs for thousands of people around the world.”
“Sansum Diabetes Research Institute has been making tremendous strides in reaching most of our goals in type 1 diabetes research,” said Dr. Howard Zisser, the study’s principal investigator. “However, there is much more we need to do to keep up the momentum for treating the disease, improving quality of life, reducing the impact of diabetes on our society, as well as building a bridge to a cure. This is a quantum leap forward in this critical area of diabetes research. None of this advanced research would be possible without the funding support from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and the commitment from Congress to approve funding through the National Institute of Health’s Special Diabetes Program.”
While many problems related to diabetes can be addressed with a fully automated device for glucose monitoring and insulin, there are still issues associated with delays and variability. An artificial pancreas could improve patients’ short- and long-term health and quality of life, and it could decrease overall healthcare costs. One hurdle has been the delay in action of insulin that goes under the skin. Delivery of insulin into the abdominal cavity will allow the patient a relatively more normal glucose control, rather than rapid glucose swings, preventing both high and low blood sugars, which are responsible for short term and long term complications of diabetes, such as stroke, heart attack, blindness, kidney failure and amputations.