Integrating an Islet-Based Biosensor in the Artificial Pancreas: In Silico Proof-of-Concept

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2022 Feb;69(2):899-909. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2021.3109096. Epub 2022 Jan 20.


Objective: Current treatment of type 1 diabetes by closed-loop therapy depends on continuous glucose monitoring. However, glucose readings alone are insufficient for an artificial pancreas to truthfully restore nutrient homeostasis where additional physiological regulators of insulin secretion play a considerable role. Previously, we have developed an electrophysiological biosensor of pancreatic islet activity, which integrates these additional regulators through electrical measurements. This work aims at investigating the performance of the biosensor in a blood glucose control loop as potential in silico proof-of-concept.

Methods: Two islet algorithm models were identified on experimental data recorded with the biosensor. First, we validated electrical measurement as a means to exploit the inborn regulation capabilities of islets for intravenous glucose measurement and insulin infusion. Subsequently, an artificial pancreas integrating the islet-based biosensor was compared to standard treatment approaches using subcutaneous routes. The closed-loop simulations were performed in the UVA/Padova T1DM Simulator where a series of realistic meal scenarios were applied to virtual diabetic patients.

Results: With intravenous routes, the endogenous islet algorithms successfully restored glucose homeostasis for all patient categories (mean time in range exceeds 90%) while mitigating the risk of adverse glycaemic events (mean BGI < 2). Using subcutaneous routes, the biosensor-based artificial pancreas was as efficient as standard treatments, and outperformed them under challenging conditions.

Conclusion: This work validates the concept of using inborn pancreatic islets algorithms in an artificial pancreas in silico.

Significance: Pancreatic islet endogenous algorithms obtained via an electrophysiological biosensor successfully regulate blood glucose levels of virtual type 1 diabetic patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1*
  • Humans
  • Pancreas, Artificial*


  • Blood Glucose