Disrupting diabetes and challenging convention

Following the lead of a patient researcher who created an artificial pancreas, ASU team is helping to transform diabetes care

The problem was simple but serious. Dana Lewis has type 1 diabetes and is a heavy sleeper, and the alarm on her continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device that let her know her glucose levels were dangerously low wasn’t loud enough to wake her up at night.

Dana Lewis, patient researcher, displays her open-source artificial pancreas system.

“There is an inherent power hierarchy in health care that puts patients between a rock and a hard place,” Lewis said. “Patients are expected to be compliant with the doctor’s orders, but also engaged and empowered to drive their own care. Through this grant, we hope to begin dismantling this hierarchy and provide new pathways for patient-led research.”

It’s a different way of looking at science and medicine, one the team rightly acknowledges.

“The industry wasn’t moving as fast as it should have been,” Koch said. “We are not waiting** to keep our kids, loved ones, brothers and sisters safe.”

Since her son began using the closed-loop system, his outlook has dramatically improved. “He will always be type 1, but it is so under control that a doctor wouldn’t diagnose him with type 1 diabetes looking solely at his glucose levels.”

Official Medium account of ASU. № 1 in innovation. Top 10 of all universities worldwide for U.S. patents awarded. Find more ASU news at asunow.

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