Patients with diabetes will be able to monitor their glucose level through an artificial pancreas expected to be marketed in 2017.
Scientists from the University of Cambridge worked on a system that would help the treatment administration of persons that are affected by diabetes. The project reached its testing phase, and the researchers published a paper with the results of their initial trials.
The artificial pancreas combines insulin pumps with a glucose monitoring system that would administrate the proper amount of hormone, depending on the body’s necessities.
The artificial pancreas could be attached to clothing. Patches on the skin will administer the insulin at correct times and in right doses.
As per its creators, the device will monitor the level of blood sugar for patients with type 1 diabetes, and it will automatically inject the proper amount of insulin.
“In trials to date, users have been positive about how use of an artificial pancreas gives them ‘time off’ or a ‘holiday’ from their diabetes management, since the system is managing their blood sugar effectively without the need for constant monitoring by the user,” said the study authors, Roman Hokorva and Hood Thabit.
The trials included children and adults with diabetes and monitored how the device behaves and how patients responded to its functioning.
The study followed several factors, such as the speed of the insulin pumps, the reliability of the instrument and its convenience, the accuracy of the glucose monitoring, and also cybersecurity.
The results were positive, as the artificial pancreas proved to manage the condition. Moreover, patients spent less time in monitoring their glucose levels and administrating the treatment.
Researchers hope that in the future, the artificial pancreas could also remove the need for pancreas transplants, an expensive and risky operation. Even if the medical intervention proves to be successful, the body’s immune system can still reject the transplanted cells, and the patient needs to take immunosuppressant drugs with powerful secondary effects.
The type 1 diabetes is diagnosed when the beta cells of the pancreas stop producing insulin. In turn, insulin is a hormone that transports the glucose from the blood into cells, which use it to produce energy. The insulin requirements vary daily, depending on a person’s activity and diet.
In the US, more than 1.25 million individuals, adults and children altogether, have type 1 diabetes.
The insulin device will be available in the US starting with 2017, and in 2018 the device will be introduced in the European markets.
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