Scientists hail 'artificial pancreas' as holy grail of diabetes cure

Subscribe to Oneindia News

London, Feb 5 (ANI): Researchers at Cambridge are a step closer to creating 'artificial pancreas' for children with type 1 diabetes.

The scientists have designed and successfully tested a new algorithm, which is expected to be a big leap for home testing of the artificial pancreas.

According to the study, the use of an artificial pancreas system overnight can considerably lower the risk of hypoglycemia, when blood glucose levels dip to dangerously low level, while sleeping.

These "hypos" are a major concern for children and adults with type 1 diabetes.

An artificial pancreas system consists of a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, both of which are available in the market, and uses a complicated algorithm to measure the appropriate amount of insulin to deliver based on the real-time glucose readings.

The artificial pancreas remove the need for multiple daily finger prick tests and insulin injections and should offer better control of blood glucose levels overnight.

The team analysed 17 children and teenagers aged between 5 and 18 with type 1 diabetes during 54 nights in hospital to come up with their findings.

They measured how well the artificial pancreas system controlled glucose levels compared with the children's regular continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) pump that delivers insulin at preselected rates.

The study included nights when the children went to bed after having fulsome evening meal or having exercised early evening. Both are challenging to manage: a large evening meal can lead to "insulin stacking" and cause a potentially dangerous drop in blood glucose levels later in the night, while late afternoon or early evening exercise increases the body's need for glucose in the early morning and can thus increase the risk of night time hypoglycaemia.

The pooled results showed the artificial pancreas kept blood glucose levels in the normal range for 60percent of the time, compared with 40percent for the CSII. The artificial pancreas reduced the time by 50percent that blood glucose levels fell below 3.9mmol/l - the level considered as mild hypoglycaemia. It also prevented blood glucose falling below 3.0mmol/l, which is defined as significant hypoglycaemia, compared with nine hypoglycaemia events in the control studies.

"Our results show that commercially-available devices, when coupled with the algorithm we developed, can improve glucose control in children and significantly reduce the risk of hypos overnight," lead author Dr Roman Hovorka of the Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge, sai.

"This is the first randomised study showing the potential benefit of the artificial pancreas system overnight using commercially-available sensors and pumps. Our study provides a stepping stone for testing the system at home," Hovorka added.he study has appeared in The Lancet. (ANI)

Please Wait while comments are loading...