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Artificial pancreases set to make living with diabetes easier by 2018

by • July 3, 2016 • No Comments

Sufferers of type 1 diabetes are required to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels and administer insulin as requireed. But the daily hassle of self-care for patients may soon be reduced, with a new study concluding that automated “artificial pancreas” processs may be on the market in as little as two years.

The study, authored by Doctors Roman Hovorka and Hood Thabit of Cambridge University, reviews the overall progress of innovation in these automated processs, that include the bionic pancreas being created by Boston University scientists.

Today, treatment for type 1 diabetes generally requires two separate processes. Patients require to manually monitor their blood glucose levels several times a day with a fingerstick blood test, and if readings are low they may require to use an insulin pump. These pumps are automated devices that clip to clothing and administer a base-line level of insulin through a catheter under the skin, with patients manually telling the pump to inject extra
doses when they eat.

The artificial pancreas combines those two separate processes into one “closed-loop” process. A requirele under the skin continuously monitors blood glucose levels and instantly administers insulin as required, removing the burden of patient self-care and ensuring a additional consistent glucose level than current pumps.

Automating those functions in addition helps overcome another disadvantage of pumps that rely on a longer-acting basal insulin: a patient’s insulin requirements can alter significantly day-to-day, and various individuals can have various requires. Depending on diet and physical activity, one of other facts, a patient can just use one third of their normal requirement one day, and up to three times additional than normal the upcoming. An artificial pancreas can read those fluctuations and react accordingly, and the study lists this as the key advantage of closed-loop processs.

Clinical trials of artificial pancreas processs over the past few years have been conducted in diabetes camps and outpatient settings, as well as remotely supervised, “free-living” tests at home. Many of these studies have discovered that closed-loop processs are effective in maintaining the perfect glucose range, and reducing the amount of time patients spend in a say of hypoglycaemia, when blood sugar is too low. The patients involved in these studies have been excited by the innovation, too.

“In trials to date, users have been positive of how use of an artificial pancreas gives them ‘time off’ or a ‘holiday’ of their diabetes management, since the process is managing their blood sugar effectively without the require for constant monitoring by the user,” say the paper’s authors.

Artificial pancreases are in addition shown to be additional viable than procedures like transplants of either the whole pancreas, or the beta cells responsible for insulin production. Not just are these surgeries invasive, but patients run the risk of rejection and additional complications.

Of course, there are yet areas where artificial pancreas processs may be improved, and the study calls for additional research to overcome these challenges. For example, it can yet take between half an hour and two hours after injection for the insulin to reach peak levels in the bloodstream, that may be too slow in a few circumstances, such as during complex exercise. Research is being conducted into faster-acting types of insulin, such as insulin aspart and inhaled forms.

These artificial pancreas processs may be on the market sooner pretty than later. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is already reviewing a proposal of one such process, that may be approved as soon as upcoming year. Meanwhile, a report by the UK National Institute for Health Research predicts that closed-loop processs may be on the market by the end of 2018.

The study appeared in the journal Diabetologia.

Source: Diabetologia via Eurekalert


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