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ARTIFICIAL PANCREAS. Advanced control of blood glucose

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Automatic control of blood glucose levels in diabetes patient 

The Technical University of Madrid, in collaboration with the Sabadell Hospital, has developed an algorithm that automatically calculates the insulin dose that should be administered to a continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion or ‘insulin pump', in order to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. The control algorithm has been evaluated with a group of patients during the night and has managed to increase by 340% the time in normal glucose levels (80-110 mg/dl), therefore avoiding hypoglycemia during the night. The insulin pump manufacturers are potential customers of this algorithm which could be integrated easily into these devices.

Technology Solution

Diabetes The control algorithm could be included directly into a continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion or to an external device capable of communicating in real time with the insulin pump and a continuous glucose sensor. The algorithm is based on rules and forecasting techniques. Its operation is customized for each patient allowing maintain blood glucose levels within normal limits.

Its use will prevent low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), especially during night, which is when patients have more difficulty recognizing the symptoms.


“Automatic algorithm to maintain glucose levels within normal limits and minimize the risk of hypo-and hyperglycemia”


Market demands

  • People with diabetes who use continuous insulin pumps generally have great freedom to adjust insulin to their routines and unexpected events, such as changes in mealtimes, food intake and quantities, physical exercise, disease states, stress, etc. all of which affect glucose levels. 
  • This fine adjustment of insulin requires knowing the blood glucose levels almost continuously but in a minimal invasive way. Nowadays, it is possible because there are commercial solutions which measure glucose every few minutes with a sensor implanted in the subcutaneous tissue. 
  • However, it is not easy for a patient to have a normal and quality life, if he must continually interpret his blood glucose profiles and make decisions about programming the insulin pump. 
  • The solution is the use of algorithms that can automatically control the insulin pump and to prevent hypoglycemic events, which is the greater risk in insulin treatment. 
  • Also it is important to avoid a continuous hyperglycemia over the years which could produce the loss of quality of life due to renal diseases, blindness, or amputations.

"The artificial pancreas can prevent and avoid hypoglycaemia and the occurrence of complications in the future due to poor metabolic control"

Market potential

•The global market for insulin pumps:
  • 1,600 million  per year, and
  • 9% annual growth.
•In the U.S.A., there are approximately 500,000 patients with insulin pump, which implies:
  • an initial outlay of about 4000€,
  • replacing in a period of five years,
  • 6€ daily costs in consumables.
•In Spain there are currently about 6,250 pump users, which represents 4% of patients candidates to use compared to 37% of patients with pump reached in U.S.A.
Competitive advantages

ControlThe control algorithm has been evaluated at the Sabadell Hospital with a group of patients during the night and has managed to increase by 340% the time in normal glucose levels (80-110 mg/dl), therefore avoiding hypoglycemia during the night. 



  • The research group GBT-Bioengineering and Telemedicine of the Technical University of Madrid has been working in the technologies diabetes field for 25 years, specifically in monitoring in consult and through mobile devices, decision support and control algorithms.
  • In the artificial pancreas research line, the research group has collaborated with Sabadell Hospital and Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona. The team has published several papers and has participated in a European Union project and two other projects funded by Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria:
  • INCA: Intelligent Control Assistant for Diabetes (IST2011-37632). 2003-2005
  • PARIS: Intelligent artificial pancreas (FIS PI042466). 2005-2008
  • A PRIORI: Predictive Analytics for insulin adjustment and optimization of systems in closed loop control using intelligent algorithms (FIS PS09/01318) 2010-2012.
  • The research conclusions were presented at the Annual Congress of the Spanish Society of Diabetes and are under clinical journal publication.
Development stage

  • Concept
  • R&D
  • Lab-Prototype
  • Industrial Prototype
  • Production

Artificial Pancreas contact

Mª Elena Hernando

e: mariaelena.hernando@upm.es

w: http://www.gbt.tfo.upm.es

UPM contact

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Area

Centre of Support for Technological Innovation – UPM

e: innovacion.tecnologica@upm.es

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