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"Sci-Fi" Artificial Pancreases Given To 875 Diabetes Patients In Large Trial

Discussion in 'Hospital' started by The Good Doctor, Apr 5, 2022.

  1. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Golden Member

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    Artificial pancreases are now being trialed in around 900 patients by the UK's NHS in an effort to reduce reliance on constant finger prick tests and insulin injections for type 1 diabetes patients. The pancreases come with an under-the-skin sensor that connects to an insulin pump to adaptively control blood glucose levels, which can all be monitored from an app on the patient’s phone.

    The new system eliminates the constant strain on the patient to regularly check glucose levels, making it an overall safer solution, while improving their quality of life.

    "Prior to having the loop, everything was manual," said Ange Abbott – mother of six-year-old Charlotte, one of the children involved in the trial – to the BBC.

    "At night we'd have to set the alarm every two hours to do finger pricks and corrections of insulin in order to deal with the ups and downs of Charlotte's blood sugars."

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    According to NHS England, if the device works, it will prevent life-threatening hypoglycaemic and hyperglycaemia attacks, described by professor Partha Kar, NHS national speciality advisor for diabetes, as "quite sci-fi like".

    Around 400,000 people in the UK currently live with type 1 diabetes, which is often present from a very young age and requires manual insulin doses for the entirety of their lives to manage the condition. If a five-year-old is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, they will have 23,000 insulin injections and 52,000 finger-prick blood tests before they are 18 years old.

    The large-scale test will identify whether the device is effective at managing glucose levels in patients and has been given to 875 people this year.

    “Having machines monitor and deliver medication for diabetes patients sounds quite sci-fi like, but when you think of it, technology and machines are part and parcel of how we live our lives every day,” said Professor Partha Kar in a statement.

    “A device picks up your glucose levels, sends the reading across to the delivery system – aka the pump – and then the system kicks in to assess how much insulin is needed.”

    “It is not very far away from the holy grail of a fully automated system, where people with type 1 diabetes can get on with their lives without worrying about glucose levels or medication”.

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