Ed Damiano’s breakthrough automated insulin delivery device, the iLet, could transform life for people with type 1 diabetes

By Alene Bouranova

The iLet named one of Time Magazine’s best inventions of 2023

People living with type 1 diabetes must check their blood sugar levels up to a dozen times a day to stay alive. But Professor Ed Damiano (BME) wondered, what if it didn’t have to be so mentally taxing? When his son, David, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an infant, the elder Damiano began to consider how he could use his expertise to spare David and others like him a life of constant calculations and worry.

Nearly a quarter-century later, Damiano has achieved that goal, and the fully automated bionic pancreas that he co-invented has the potential to revolutionize type 1 diabetes management—and transform the lives of millions around the world. In May, his iLet Bionic Pancreas, a high-tech insulin delivery system, achieved FDA clearance for people age six and up who have type 1 diabetes. But it was a long journey to that point, taking years of research, trials, and cutting-edge innovation. And it all started the day Damiano’s wife, pediatrician Toby Milgrome, took David to her office to run tests that might explain the 11-month-old’s lethargy and weight loss

“Toby rushed out the door saying, ‘David has type 1 diabetes. Our lives have changed forever,’” recalls Damiano.

Read the full story at BU’s The Brink.

Photo at top: Ed Damiano (BME) and David Damiano (CAS’21, Pardee’21) at Beta Bionics, shortly after the iLet won clearance from the FDA. Photo by Cydney Scott