People living with type 2 diabetes can rejoice. Scientists have successfully trialed an artificial pancreas that maintains healthy glucose levels in the body and applied for regulatory approval of their device to make it commercially available in the market.
The device works on an algorithm developed by the University of Cambridge researchers. It was able to double the time during which the glucose levels remained in the target range and also slashed the time during which the glucose levels were high by half, according to the study published in the journal Nature Medicine.
Type 2 diabetes is a disorder in which the levels of glucose or blood sugar become very high. It is the job of insulin to control blood sugar levels in the body, but in people with type 2 diabetes, insulin production becomes uneven. The resulting increased glucose levels can cause problems including eye, kidney and nerve damage, and heart disease in the long run.
Generally, the disease is managed through lifestyle changes, such as improved diet and more exercise, and medication.
Researchers from the Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge created the device that consists of an ordinary glucose monitor and insulin pump connected to an app developed by the team, known as CamAPS HX. This app predicts the amount of insulin that will be required to maintain glucose levels in the target range. The device functions automatically involving little interference from the patients.
“Many people with type 2 diabetes struggle to manage their blood sugar levels using the currently available treatments, such as insulin injections. The artificial pancreas can provide a safe and effective approach to help them, and the technology is simple to use and can be implemented safely at home,” Dr. Charlotte who co-led the study, said, reported MedicalXpress.
For the study, 26 patients were recruited from the Wolfson Diabetes and Endocrine Clinic at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Patients were divided into two groups. The first group used the artificial pancreas for eight weeks, and then switched to the standard therapy of multiple daily insulin injections, while the second control group did the complete reverse.
Following analysis, it was found that on average, patients using the artificial pancreas spent 66% of their time within the target range compared to 32% of the time for the patients in the control group. Also, patients in the control group spent 67% of their time with high glucose levels, which was reduced to half at 33% for the patients using the artificial pancreas. Feedback from the patients also found that 89% of the participants felt they spent less time managing their diabetes.
“One of the barriers to widespread use of insulin therapy has been concern over the risk of severe ‘hypos’—dangerously low blood sugar levels. But we found that no patients on our trial experienced these and patients spent very little time with blood sugar levels lower than the target levels,” Dr. Aideen Daly from the Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, said, as per the outlet.