Science Writing, 11 January. An artificial pancreas made from an algorithm-driven device for people with type 2 diabetes doubled the time spent in the target glucose range and halved it at higher levels, compared with standard treatment.
About 415 million people in the world suffer from type 2 diabetes, which represents an annual health expenditure of 760,000 million dollars (700,000 million euros), recalls the study coordinated by the University of Cambridge and published by Nature Medicine.
Type 2 diabetes causes blood glucose—sugar levels that are too high—and is treated with lifestyle changes—a better diet and more exercise, for example—and medication, which aim to keep glucose levels down. Is.
The artificial pancreas is a device that combines a traditional glucose monitor and insulin pump with an app developed by the team, which runs on algorithms that predict how much insulin is needed to keep glucose levels in the target range.
The study reports on the results of the first eight-week trial with a group of 26 people who did not require kidney dialysis and who were divided into two groups. One half tried the device first and then continued with normal treatment and the other half did the opposite.
The team used several measures to assess the effectiveness of the artificial pancreas. The first was the proportion of time spent with glucose levels within the target range.
On average, patients using the artificial pancreas spent two-thirds (66%) of the time within that interval, twice as much as the other group (32%).
A second measure was the proportion of time they had elevated glucose levels. Those who continued with usual treatment spent two-thirds (67%) of the time living, a percentage that was reduced to 33% with the artificial pancreas.
No patients experienced dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) during the study and only one had to be hospitalized while using the artificial pancreas due to an abscess at the pump cannula site.
Feedback from participants suggested they were satisfied that the system automatically monitored glucose levels, and nine out of ten (89%) said they spent less time managing their diabetes.
Key benefits include not having to inject and increased confidence in blood sugar control. The disadvantages were an increased concern about the risk of hypoglycemia and practical inconvenience from using the devices.
The researchers previously showed that an artificial pancreas powered by a similar algorithm was effective in patients with type 1 diabetes and in patients with type 2 who require dialysis.
The team plans to conduct a much larger multi-centre study based on their findings and submit the device for regulatory approval with a view to marketing it in outpatients with type 2 diabetes.