A recent study showed that an artificial pancreas system can significantly regulate and stabilize glucose control in type 1 diabetics. The research was performed by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), which is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research.

The research was accomplished in a period of 3 months with both adults and kids. This is the longest trial ever done using artificial pancreas with positive results. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and was presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting in Stockholm (EASD).

The pancreas, shown with the much smaller gall bladder, produces insulin that regulates glucose levels in the body. Credits: MedicalRF.com/Corbis/NPR

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar or glucose to enter cells to produce necessary energy.

Artificial Pancreas System

The artificial pancreas system is based on using a smartphone to help control the blood sugar levels and insulin transmission in diabetics. The system was designed at Cambridge University.

“Many people in the field have seen the potential of the artificial pancreas systems and thought that they could add significant value,” Aaron Kowalski, vice president for research at JDRF, formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which helped sponsor the study, told Reuters.

How was the trial?

All the study population was suited with a glucose sensor and an insulin pump. Volunteers sometimes were able to make their own decisions about the insulin pump, but most of the time, the computer’s program automatically calculated a pertinent amount of insulin and wirelessly informed the insulin pump so it could release the insulin to the body.

Furthermore, 33 adults used the system day and night. The glucose stayed in the target range – 70-180 milligrams per deciliter – 68 percent of the time when the system was in charge. On the other hand, when patients controlled their own insulin release, it stayed in the target range 57 percent of the time. In addition, participants were allowed to travel and to use the system when driving.

According to the researchers, the improvements were more effective at night due to levels stayed in the normal range 59 percent of the time versus 29 percent without using the software. The same results were obtained from the 25 children and teens volunteers – the glucose stayed in the target range of 70 – 145 mg/dl 60 percent of the time when using the system.

“We found that extended use of a closed-loop system at home over a period of 12 weeks during free daily living without close supervision is feasible in adults, children, and adolescents with type 1 diabetes,” Dr. Hood Thabit of the University of Cambridge in Britain and colleagues wrote in their report.

The benefits

Researchers stated that the new data provided showed that this software truly works. “It’s not only not risky, it’s less risky than what diabetics are doing now, where control is not great. We’ve not put people in the real world for a decently-long period of time and compared them to the best in class standard of care, and it’s out-performed it. It fact, it outperformed it quite well.”

Additionally, 5 percent of the 29 million Americans with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes, according to CDC.

Source: EASD