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Bionic Pancreas

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It looks like your average summer camp, but along with swimming and  sports - an important medical study is underway.
Campers at Camp Joslin have type 1 diabetes - and some are testing a high tech device that could change their lives.

Six-year old Gavin Farmer is one of the youngest campers wearing a bionic pancreas.

 “The bionic pancreas is a device that automatically controls blood sugar and the way that it does it is to sense the blood glucose using a little sensor that goes just underneath the skin.”

Dr. Steven Russell is leading the study - the first to test the device in children ages 6 to 11.

Dr. Ed Damiano helped developed the bionic pancreas - the sensors send information to a smartphone that controls two pumps with hormones thatr. “Every 5 minutes it makes a new decision and then it commands the dosing of insulin and glucagon.”

Researchers wanted to test the bionic pancreas here at camp because children are exposed to a wide range of activities and meals.

The bionic pancreas is not yet FDA approved, but parents see its potential.

“You can pretty much not have to worry about counting carbs and did I give him too much insulin, did I give him too little,” says mother Kathleen Farmer.

“You're wearing the bionic pancreas right now?”


“I can't even tell.”

11-year-old camper John Briggs and his dad are both diabetic.   

 “This is great because he has the flexibility where he can just go and be a kid and he doesn't have to worry about if something might happen,” says John.

Researchers say the bionic pancreas has already been successfully tested in adults and adolescents with type one diabetes. Some final testing will be done in the next few years before it is submitted for FDA approval in 2017.
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