NEW YORK, Jan 9 — Seattle resident Dana Lewis is among a million or so Americans living with type 1 diabetes.
She manages the disease with a constant glucose monitor and an insulin pump.
In the past, both devices operated separately, meaning Lewis had to look at the monitor and adjust her insulin pump accordingly.
But this created a potentially dangerous situation at night, as Lewis was often undisturbed by the monitor’s alarm.
“Because I lived by myself, if I were to continue to sleep through the alarm and my blood sugar kept dropping there’s some bad outcomes that can happen, which include going into a coma,” Dana Lewis, Artificial Pancreas System founder, said.
And that’s how she came up with the idea of the Artificial Pancreas System, or APS.
It’s made of a simple circuit board with a computer chip, and connects the monitor and pump together for a closed loop system, mimicking a real pancreas.
“Information comes in from each of the medical devices to a computer. It runs the math itself and then says “OK, take action” and it’s able to close the loop by sending those commands back to the insulin pump to make the insulin dosing adjustments.”
Lewis made the APS’ software code open source, so that anyone could join in and contribute, as well as benefit from its development.
Elliot Steward was an early adopter and has used several versions of the device.
“Being open source, you can use it and say “Hey, you know what? That was good but I think I can make it better and so then you can get feedback and the product will evolve at a much faster rate than it ever could in clinical trials.”
The open source approach has already advanced the system, as it is now interoperable with smart devices such as phones and watches.
Users must build their own APS device though, but with a whole community out there to help, it is an easy fix with lasting benefits. — Reuters