Is This the Biggest Advancement in Diabetes Management Since the Insulin Pump? A well-designed printing process can help low-income diabetics get the care they need.
Diagnosed at age 2 with Type 1 diabetes, Kayla Wilson had to suffer through four shots per day of the insulin her pancreas was unable to produce. The insulin pump she got at age 7 was a godsend. The connection needed to be reinserted only every few days, and the pump helped keep her blood sugar steady by distributing insulin slowly.
"My first insulin pump changed my life," she says. "When I decided to do bioengineering, I figured I'd go design an insulin pump."
But during her studies at South Carolina's Clemson University, her advisor, associate professor Delphine Dean, guided her toward the problem of impoverished people who cannot afford basic diabetes care. Worldwide, 347 million people suffer from diabetes. Roughly 1.5 million die from the disease each year, 80 percent of them in low- or middle-income countries where patients cannot afford a daily supply of roughly five test strips, which retail for about $1 each.