iLet spinoff is an artificial pancreas of a new generation for diabetics, which was created by Beta Bionics company. The main goal of the company is to facilitate the lives of people who live with diabetes or are associated with glycemic dysregulation. The team of the company consists of bioengineers from Boston University. Adaptive management of the artificial pancreas was developed by such scientists as Ed Damiano and Firas El-Hatib. Then it was laid on the basis of the iLet device.
The technology of artificial pancreas was developed by Ed Damiano, when his son, a patient with diabetes (lat. Diabetes Mellitus) of 1st degree, was forced to do insulin injections himself. Some existing systems on the market use implanted sensors that measure the level of glucose in the blood. However, the device iLet, the development of Beta Bionics, can measure sugar and automatically injects insulin into the body when necessary.
iLet is a small invasive device that is attached to the abdominal surface. This device contains 2 reservoirs with medicinal fluids and can be used in a configuration with 1 or 2 hormones. Each reservoir is connected to the body by a conventional, subcutaneous, infusion set, which is currently used with insulin pumps. Also in the device are built-in wear sensors and a continuous glucose monitor.
The insulin cartridge contains about 1.6 ml of drugs, and the glucagon cartridge contains about 1 ml. Consequently, for adults, insulin will be enough for 3 days, then a person should change the cartridge. Glucagon can be used up to 6 days, and then a person also needs to change the cartridge.
Currently, the company pays much attention to the iLet device for maintaining and managing the blood sugar level for people with type 1 diabetes. However, in the future, they hope to find a solution for managing a number of states of glycemic dysregulation, as the number of people, suffering from type 2 diabetes and people with rare but destructive conditions associated with chronic hypoglycemia such as congenital hyperinsulinism, insulinoma syndrome, etc., is raised every day.
The company decided to choose crowdfunding platform because it works for the benefit of society and for patients with type 1 diabetes. There are many among the contributors and scientists involved in diabetes research, such as Gabriel Smolarz of Rutgers University. According to Gabriel Smolarz, the iLet device is like an unmanned vehicle. Sounds great and it has great potential, but there is not the risk of human error but at the same time, we give control to the car.
Beta Bionics collected on the crowdfunding platform Wefunder $ 1,300 from 775 investors, the total amounted to just over one million dollars. Beta Bionics already tested prototypes on volunteers and started larger trials of iLet in March 2017. Initially, it is planned that the device will inject only insulin blocking blood sugar. In the future, the company is going to add glucagon, the second hormone, because the body needs at a reduced level of glucose, for example, between meals. In addition, the company hopes to win a grant from the National Institutes of Health for $ 15 million.