Towards the Integration of an Islet-Based Biosensor in Closed-Loop Therapies for Patients With Type 1 Diabetes

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2022 Apr 22;13:795225. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2022.795225. eCollection 2022.


In diabetes mellitus (DM) treatment, Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) linked with insulin delivery becomes the main strategy to improve therapeutic outcomes and quality of patients' lives. However, Blood Glucose (BG) regulation with CGM is still hampered by limitations of algorithms and glucose sensors. Regarding sensor technology, current electrochemical glucose sensors do not capture the full spectrum of other physiological signals, i.e., lipids, amino acids or hormones, relaying the general body status. Regarding algorithms, variability between and within patients remains the main challenge for optimal BG regulation in closed-loop therapies. This work highlights the simulation benefits to test new sensing and control paradigms which address the previous shortcomings for Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) closed-loop therapies. The UVA/Padova T1DM Simulator is the core element here, which is a computer model of the human metabolic system based on glucose-insulin dynamics in T1D patients. That simulator is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an alternative for pre-clinical testing of new devices and closed-loop algorithms. To overcome the limitation of standard glucose sensors, the concept of an islet-based biosensor, which could integrate multiple physiological signals through electrical activity measurement, is assessed here in a closed-loop insulin therapy. This investigation has been addressed by an interdisciplinary consortium, from endocrinology to biology, electrophysiology, bio-electronics and control theory. In parallel to the development of an islet-based closed-loop, it also investigates the benefits of robust control theory against the natural variability within a patient population. Using 4 meal scenarios, numerous simulation campaigns were conducted. The analysis of their results then introduces a discussion on the potential benefits of an Artificial Pancreas (AP) system associating the islet-based biosensor with robust algorithms.

Keywords: artificial pancreas; biosensor; closed-loop simulation; insulin therapy; micro-electrode array; pancreatic islets; type 1 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin
  • Insulin Infusion Systems
  • United States


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin