An artificial pancreas, consisting of a algorithm driven devicefor people with type 2 diabetes it doubled the time they stayed in a target glycemic range and halved their elevated levels, compared with standard treatment.
Some 415 million people have type 2 diabetes in the world, which represents an annual health expenditure of 760,000 million dollars (700,000 million euros), recalls the study coordinated by University of Cambridge and published by the prestigious magazine Medicine of Nature.
Type 2 diabetes causes glucose levels to rise -glycemia- too high and it’s treated with a combination of lifestyle changes — improved diet and more exercise, for example — and medications, with the goal of keeping glucose levels down.
The artificial pancreas is a device that combines a conventional glucometer and an insulin pump with an app developed by the team, powered by an algorithm that predicts the amount of insulin needed to keep glucose levels in the target range.
The study reports the results of the first trial over eight weeks with a group of 26 people who did not require renal dialysis and who were divided into two groups. Half tried the device first and then continued with their usual treatment and the other half vice versa.
The team acquired several measures to evaluate the efficiency of the artificial pancreas. The first was the proportion of time patients spent with glucose levels within a target range.
On average, patients who used the artificial pancreas spent two-thirds (66%) of the time within that range, double that of the other group (32%).
A second measure was the proportion of time the children had high glucose levels. Those who continued with usual care spent two-thirds (67%) of the time, a percentage that decreased to 33% with the artificial pancreas.
No patients had dangerously low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) during the study and only one had to be hospitalized while using the artificial pancreas due to an abscess at the site of the pump cannula.
Feedback from participants suggested that they were satisfied that the system checked automatically glucose levels and nine out of ten (89%) said they spent less time managing their diabetes overall.
Among the main advantages were not having to inject and greater confidence in blood sugar control. The disadvantages were increased anxiety about the risk of hypoglycemia and the practical inconvenience of using the devices.
Researchers have already shown that an artificial pancreas driven by a similar algorithm was effective for patients with type 1 diabetes and in patients with type 2 diabetes who require dialysis.
The team plans to implement a much larger multicenter study based on its demonstration and submitted the device for regulatory approval to market it in outpatient type 2 diabetes.
With information from the EFE agency.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.