Artificial pancreas device ‘gives better control’

By Editor
12th May 2016
Charity, Latest news Medical devices Research

Artificial pancreas systems provide better glucose control than conventional pump therapy, according to a new study.

A team of researchers from the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) in Canada wanted to see what is the best technology for managing type 1 diabetes.

They compared the standard insulin pump, with an artificial pancreas with a single hormone (insulin), and an artificial pancreas with dual hormones (insulin and glucagon).

Conducted in a home setting a total of 28 people took part from 9pm until 7am in the JDRF trial.

The study found there was a large variance in blood glucose levels between the three different technologies in the small group of people with type 1 diabetes overnight.


The results showed the percentage of time-in-target glucose range was on average 47 per cent for conventional pump therapy, however higher on both artificial pancreas systems, with people on the single-hormone showing an average of 76 per cent and dual-hormone 81 per cent.

The time spent below 4 mmol/L was 14 per cent for conventional pump therapy, lower on both single-hormone with 5 per cent and dual-hormone artificial pancreas 1 per cent.

These figures suggest single and dual-hormone artificial pancreas systems both provide better glucose control than conventional pump therapy.

Although there was only a small difference between the dual-hormone and the single hormone in terms of time-in-target glucose levels, there was a difference in the time spent below 4 mmol/L.

This is important in management of type 1 diabetes, as levels below 4 mmol/L could lead to dangerous levels of hypoglycaemia.

Jennifer Burton, research communication officer at JDRF in the UK said: “We know it can be a struggle to meet blood glucose targets as there are so many different factors making these levels go up and down.

“Day-to-day, you can eat the same food, take the same amount of insulin, and do the same level of exercise, and still your blood glucose levels can vary widely.

“Not only is this frustrating, but in the long term, this may increase your risk of developing complications. We believe artificial pancreas systems could help people manage their blood glucose levels more tightly and the results of this small study support this.”

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