Closing the loop

E. Dassau, E. Atlas, M. Phillip

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Closed-loop algorithms can be found in every aspect of everyday modern life. Automation and control are used constantly to provide safety and to improve quality of life. Closed-loop systems and algorithms can be found in home appliances, automobiles, aviation and more. Can one imagine nowadays driving a car without ABS, cruise control or even anti-sliding control? Similar principles of automation and control can be used in the management of diabetes mellitus (DM). The idea of an algorithmic/technological way to control glycaemia is not new and has been researched for more than four decades. However, recent improvements in both glucose-sensing technology and insulin delivery together with advanced control and systems engineering made this dream of an artificial pancreas possible. The artificial pancreas may be the next big step in the treatment of DM since the use of insulin analogues. An artificial pancreas can be described as internal or external devices that use continuous glucose measurements to automatically manage exogenous insulin delivery with or without other hormones in an attempt to restore glucose regulation in individuals with DM using a control algorithm. This device as described can be internal or external; can use different types of control algorithms with bi-hormonal or uni-hormonal design; and can utilise different ways to administer them. The different designs and implementations have transitioned recently from in silico simulations to clinical evaluation stage with practical applications in mind. This may mark the beginning of a new era in diabetes management with the introduction of semi-closed-loop systems that can prevent or minimise nocturnal hypoglycaemia, to hybrid systems that will manage blood glucose (BG) levels with minimal user intervention to finally fully automated systems that will take the user out of the loop. More and more clinical trials will be needed for the artificial pancreas to become a reality but initial encouraging results are proof that we are on the right track. We attempted to select recent publications that will present these current achievements in the quest for the artificial pancreas and that will inspire others to continue to progress this field of research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-25
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Practice, Supplement
Issue number170
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


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