“I remember, trying to make sense of all of this, the doctor saying ‘In three years, we’ll have perfected the artificial pancreas and you won’t have to worry about this’,” Stack recalled at a panel discussion at the HIMSS Connected Health Conference just outside of Washington DC. “That was 2003. For nine years, nothing changed.”
Nowadays, continuous glucose monitors are common and so are insulin pumps that can automatically deliver insulin to people with diabetes. But the artificial pancreas — a software and hardware platform that would combine the two and regulate patients’ insulin seamlessly and automatically — has proven more elusive. Not because it can’t be built, but because so far it hasn’t been built in a scalable, reliable way.
This hasn’t stopped an ever-growing cohort of hacker patients, united on social networks under hashtags like #WeAreNotWaiting, from building their own solutions. A few of those patients who presented at HIMSS CHC included Stack; Nightscout developer Ben West; Dana Lewis, who built her own “DIY pancreas“; and Galileo Analytics co-founder Anna McCollister-Slip. Courtney Lias, director of the Division of Chemistry and Toxicology Devices at FDA, weighed in on behalf of the agency. Keep reading>>