InSmart Artificial Pancreas

DesignerRenfrew Group International: Bruce Renfrew Shaun Phillips Ken Poberezny De Montfort University: Professor Joan Taylor Dr Tarsem Sahota
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Entry Description

The InSmart Artificial Pancreas is the result of a collaboration between designers at Renfrew Group International and Joan Taylor, Professor of Pharmaceutics at De Montfort University. The pancreas is an implantable device with the potential to end multiple insulin injections for sufferers of Type 1 diabetes - a large proportion of whom are at risk of over or under medicating with current treatment methods. Together we’ve designed something different using a patented glucose sensitive polymer invented by Professor Taylor, which is installed in a safe in vivo device. This is the chemical gateway gel that controls insulin output. The artificial pancreas, when implanted into the peritoneal cavity automatically releases the correct amount of insulin in response to varying blood sugar levels. The device does not need a power supply and the duration between refills is measured in weeks rather than hours. The device is currently in the pre clinical trials phase, clinical trials will follow shortly with the aim of being introduced to the market in 5 Years time. The innovative part of the design is the polymeric gel, the glucose-sensitive gel gateway that governs the release of insulin. The reason it works is that the gel gateway (inside the device) softens when it contacts glucose. The gel material contains a lock and key chemical interaction that holds the molecules of the gel together in a minute network. This structure is interrupted by the presence of glucose that enters the device gel layer from the fluid surrounding it in the body. The gel responds to natural and synthetic sugars –and virtually only to glucose in the body fluids. When the gel softens, the insulin in it travels much more quickly and reaches the body circulation. Once the insulin has lowered the blood glucose, glucose is drawn out of the gel again (down a new concentration gradient, ie by the fundamental laws of diffusion) and the gel re-hardens, effectively closing the gateway.

About Designer

A highly resourced new product development company offering multi-disciplinary design and innovation. We carryout market research, create initial ideas and concepts, and provide NPD support through computer aided design and engineering, all the way to full production data. Our client base of national and international companies also rely on us to provide proof-of-principle models, prototypes and in some cases, limited run manufacturing. The company benefits from laboratories and workshops with dedicated staff for research and development. The special test rigs, fabricated or tooled parts and batch production we can provide, help our clients to achieve their clinical trials or physical testing in the shortest timeframe and with fully verifiable test data. Renfrew Group International use market intelligence, crowd-sourcing and brainstorming to help develop technology solutions. With a strong brand awareness and an emphasis on human factors, form and function, the resultant new products often lead the field in their sector. We employ a substantial team of award winning product designers and design engineers with a wealth of experience and a cache of enthusiasm. Dedicated project teams provide design solutions for healthcare devices, automotive vehicles, and consumer products, and for brands such as The Department of Health, Smith and Nephew, Reckitt Benkiser, and Triumph Motorcycles.