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Livermore research team wins distinguished Department of Energy award for development of miniature glucose sensor for diabetes patients

WASHINGTON D.C.The Department of Energy today awarded a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory research team led by physicist Stephen Lane with the Bright Light Award for its work developing an implantable device to monitor glucose levels in diabetes patients. The Livermore team is one of five research groups honored nationwide for its work on a recent consumer-oriented innovation. Other members of the Livermore development team are physicists Tom Peyser, Chris Darow and Natasha Zaitseva and chemists Joe Satcher and Doug Gary.

Lane, who is associate program leader for Livermores Medical Technology Program, has been working on the biomechanical pancreas to manage diabetes for more than five years. Through the labs work and a partnership with MiniMed Inc. (Nasdaq: MNMD) of Sylmar, Calif. the biomechanical pancreas would work in both Types 1 and 2 diabetes patients. A sensor would be imbedded under the skin of patients to help them constantly maintain near normal glucose levels, an extremely difficult task using current therapeutic methods. The sensor would signal an insulin pump that administers insulin, when needed, to the patient to control his or her glucose level.

An estimated 16 million Americans suffer from diabetes. In 1998, diabetes was responsible for the deaths of 200,000 Americans making it the third leading cause of death by disease in the United States.

"Even with the best treatment protocols, diabetics have, on average, more than the normal amount of glucose in their systemafter many years, this can result in stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and amputations," Lane said.

Lane said the biomechanical pancreas will help eliminate the pain and inconvenience of testing and injections those diabetic patients go through in a given day. Though its still in an early developmental stage, Lane said he hopes the device will eventually eliminate the risk of long-term maladies that affect diabetes patients.

The Bright Li
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Contact: Anne Stark
stark8@llnl.gov
925-422-9799
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
7-Jan-2001


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