Approximately 1.25 million people in the U.S. have type 1 diabetes. Yet less than a third of these people achieve the recommended target glucose levels. Diabetes is tough! After 5 years of the disease, a person with diabetes will have administered roughly 7,300 injections & 9,000 fingers left glucose measurements. Insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring have helped mitigate this burden somewhat. However, it takes at least 4 to 6 years for diabetes technology to make it to market. This simply didn’t cut it for Dana Lewis and so she created her own DIY pancreas system. Dana Lewis is a creator of the “Do-It-Yourself Pancreas System” (#DIYPS), founder of the open source artificial pancreas system movement (#OpenAPS), and a passionate advocate of patient-centered, -driven, and -designed research.
Dana first created #DIYPS in December 2013 as a solution to make her own continuous glucose monitor (CGM) alarms louder. She iterated on this tool with Scott Leibrand, leading them to develop a simple (but effective) predictive algorithm that forecasts hours into the future and creates personalized recommendations for any necessary actions. Dana actively shared online about #DIYPS and engaging others from the #WeAreNotWaiting community in collaboration, including around development of the Nightscout Project. Within a year, they realized that Dana would be able to “close the loop” and create a hybrid closed loop artificial pancreas system to automate microadjustments of insulin delivery, by using the basic algorithm from #DIYPS and pairing it with off-the-shelf hardware and other open source code and tools to communicate directly with her insulin pump. Not satisfied with being one of the few people in the world with a DIY AP, Dana looked to the open source world as a way to pay it forward and enable others to self-build their own systems, too. Thus, #OpenAPS was created in February 2015, and the rest is history. There are now more than (n=1)*1,300+ (see the latest up to date count here) individuals around the world who have also built their own DIY artificial pancreas using a variety of tools and technology from the open source, “DIY diabetes” community.