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Int J Clin Pract Suppl. 2010 Feb;(166):20-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2009.02274.x.

Closing the loop.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.


The dream of closing the loop is actually the dream of creating an artificial pancreas and freeing the patients from being involved with the care of their own diabetes. Insulin-dependent diabetes (type 1) is a chronic incurable disease which requires constant therapy without the possibility of any 'holidays' or insulin-free days. It means that patients have to inject insulin every day of their life, several times per day, and in order to do it safely they also have to measure their blood glucose levels several times per day. Patients need to plan their meals, their physical activities and their insulin regime - there is only very small room for spontaneous activities. This is why the desire for an artificial pancreas is so strong despite the fact that it will not cure the diabetic patients. Attempts to develop a closed-loop system started in the 1960s but never got to a clinical practical stage of development. In recent years the availability of continuous glucose sensors revived those efforts and stimulated the clinician and researchers to believe that closing the loop might be possible nowadays. Many papers have been published over the years describing several different ideas on how to close the loop. Most of the suggested systems have a sensing arm that measures the blood glucose repeatedly or continuously, an insulin delivery arm that injects insulin upon command and a computer that makes the decisions of when and how much insulin to deliver. The differences between the various published systems in the literature are mainly in their control algorithms. However, there are also differences related to the method and site of glucose measurement and insulin delivery. SC glucose measurements and insulin delivery are the most studied option but other combinations of insulin measurements and glucose delivery including intravascular and intraperitoneal (IP) are explored. We tried to select recent publications that we believe had influenced and inspired people interested in the field.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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