On October 25, my family and I will be participating in JDRF’s Walk for a Cure fundraising and awareness walk-a-thon in Front Royal, VA. JDRF (or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) is one of the only non-profits dedicated to funding research on Type 1 Diabetes. Most of the groups out there also fund research for Type 2…and you already know my bias about Type 2, right?
One of the main projects JDRF funds is the bionic pancreas being developed out of Boston University. This medical device is a major game changer for anyone living with T1D because it combines an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor and introduces automated glucagon administration (a first) all in once device. The BP monitors blood glucose continuously and administers insulin and glucagon as needed. So if my son, for example, eats his lunch, the bionic pancreas would administer insulin as his blood glucose rises. And if my son eats too many simple carbs for lunch and thus metabolizes the sugar too quickly, making is blood glucose drop, the bionic pancreas will automatically shut off the insulin drip and will administer glucagon instead to keep him in a safe normal range–all without a finger prick, an insulin shot, or glucose tablets. The bionic pancreas enables those living with T1D to return to their lifestyle before dx–a life without the pain of pricks and injections, without the scary feeling of low blood sugar, without the stares and questions from onlookers whenever it is necessary to medically treat one’s condition. The bionic pancreas isn’t a cure, but it is the next best thing.