Perhaps the cure for diabetes lies half way between medical science and mechanical engineering. Implantable devices that can continuously monitor blood sugar levels through a detector implanted in a vein, and release small amounts of insulin from an abdominal implant in response to the body’s requirements, may be a solution. Such an “internal artificial pancreas” device could overcome many of the challenges of human organ and cell transplantation, namely the elimination of the need for immunosuppression, only minimally invasive surgery, and perhaps most importantly, an unlimited supply of devices.
The first implantable mechanical device to control blood sugar levels entered the phase of human trials in 2000.