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Most people who treat their Type I Diabetes must still rely on pricking their finger and testing their blood several times everyday. Researchers at the Imperial College London want to give that job to a microchip. Pantelis Georgiou and Nick Oliver at ICL have developed a special blood glucose control chip that reacts to changes in sugar levels just like the cells in your body. The ‘Silicon Pancreas’ mimics the insulin controlling beta cells, as well as the glucagon controlling alpha cells, normally found in the healthy organ. In diabetics, beta cells are destroyed by the body’s immune system and alpha cells tend to suffer over the long term. When paired with a continuous glucose monitor embedded on the skin, and a pair of insulin and glucagon pumps, the Silicon Pancreas should be able to give diabetics an approximate response to blood sugar levels close to what their bodies would normally produce.
And even though implants like the JRDF device and the Silicon Pancreas have the potential to defeat diabetes by letting us control our blood sugar levels, neither is going to be a true cure. For that we will need to deal with the actual problem – the body’s loss of healthy beta cells. As we’ve discussed before, that’s probably going to come through stem cell therapies, some of which are already having great success. Cybernetic solutions for the disease are remarkable, and growing nearer to use, but they are likely only a stepping stone towards even better treatments. In the future, we won’t simply defeat diabetes, we’ll remove it from our bodies entirely. At least, I hope so.
Originally posted by andy1033
reply to post by speculativeoptimist
So a chip controlling our hormones, na thanks.