Couple of things:
First of all, the money spent on this research is going to be a drop in the bucket compared to diabetics related research.
Second, we need to walk before we can run. Medicine is no where near the state where we can just implant an artificial pancreas into a patient. It's one thing to build a simple structure like ear shaped cartilage, but there are all sorts of issues building a multiple hormone and enzyme producing organ that has to interface with multiple body systems (endocrine, exocrine, digestive, circulatory, autonomic nervous system) to maintain balances of a variety of chemicals essential to digesting food. It's not just insulin and blood glucose, you know.
Third, I'm guessing that it's likely that your friends could get off of the injections if they ate healthier.