Artificial Pancreas Offers New Hope For Diabetics

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Researchers are getting closer to perfecting an artificial pancreas which may offer new hope for Coloradans living with diabetes. The device takes the guesswork out of managing the disease.

“Because my mom and dad knew the signs,” said 18-year-old Dominic Villano, a type 1 diabetic who was diagnosed at age six.

The disease runs in the family, Dominic’s father, Dean, is also a diabetic and also was diagnosed at age six.

Dominic checks his blood seven times a day and takes insulin shots. It hasn’t stopped him from playing sports but his disease is always on his mind.

“Is my blood sugar high or low, am I going to get low during a football game or something like that is probably the worst part,” said Dominic.

Dominic Villano tests his blood (credit: CBS)

Dominic Villano tests his blood (credit: CBS)

Diabetes treatment has come a long way since Dominic’s father was diagnosed with diabetes.

Dr. Peter Chase with the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora has cared for both Dominic and Dean.

At the center, researchers have been testing an artificial pancreas system to help diabetics automatically control their blood glucose levels.

“It doesn’t do away entirely with blood sugar checking but most people go down in the number they do per day,” said Chase.

“No shots would be a huge deal,” said Dominic.

It could be a game changer for those living with diabetes.

The Children’s Diabetes Foundation supports the Barbara Davis Center. The 29th Denver Carousel Ball Fundraiser is scheduled for Oct. 2 where John and Paige Elway will be honored.

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