'Mill Hill Infuser', the first portable insulin infusion pump, London, England, 1976

1976 in London
John A Parsons
Harry Keen
John Pickup

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The first portable insulin infusion pump for treating diabetes, known as the 'Mill Hill Infuser', made by Dr John
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

'Mill Hill Infuser', designed by Dr. John Pickup, Professor Harry Keen and Dr. John Parsons at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill and Guy's Hospital, London, England, 1976. The first portable insulin pump for treating diabetics, battery driven to supply insulin under the skin at a variety of controlled rates (see note).

Made at the National Institute for Medical Research, based in Mill Hill, London, this so-called ‘Mill Hill Infuser’ was the first portable insulin infusion pump made to treat diabetes. Ordinarily, insulin is released from the pancreas to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. Diabetes is a condition where insulin cannot be produced by the body. Too high levels or too low levels of glucose can be dangerous to a person’s health.

Worn at all times, a battery driven pump delivers insulin through a plastic tube inserted into the skin at a controlled rate, which can be varied if necessary. Insulin infusion pumps are considered to be a more convenient way of taking insulin rather than by injection. Inhalers, patches and pills have also been developed.


Object Number:
aluminium (metal), electronic components, plastic (unidentified) and steel (metal)
insulin infusion pump
National Institute for Medical Research

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