Scientists Coax Human Embryonic Stem Cells Into Making InsulinUltimately, though, even if artificial pancreas technology evolves to the point of full automation, it's still a machine. It can break. And it's not a cure.
Last October, researchers at Harvard announced that they had found a way to coax human embryonic stem cells into making insulin. The researchers are now working on encapsulating those cells so that they won't be attacked by the patient's immune system, the process that causes Type 1 diabetes in the first place. Other research is also focused on finding biological "cures."
Kowalski sees artificial pancreas systems as a bridge until a biological cure becomes available. "Ultimately, we want to get rid of the devices. But in the meantime, we want to keep people healthy and ease the burden. So that's what we're trying to do: make smarter pumps until we have more nature-made solutions."