Bionic Pancreas Helps Type 1 Diabetes Patients Control Blood Sugar
Boston, MA - Scientists have made big progress on a "bionic pancreas" to free some people with type 1 diabetes from the daily ordeal of managing their disease. A wearable, experimental device passed a real-world test, constantly monitoring blood sugar and automatically giving insulin or glucagon (a sugar-boosting hormone) as needed, doctors said Sunday.
The latest version of a bionic pancreas device was successfully tested in two five-day clinical trials – one in adults, the other in adolescents – that imposed minimal restrictions on patient activities. Results of the Boston University (BU) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) study were published online in a New England Journal of Medicine paper and presented at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions.
The device improved blood-sugar control more than standard monitors and insulin pumps did when tested for five days on 20 adults and 32 teens. Unlike other artificial pancreases in development that just correct high blood sugar, this one also can fix too-low sugar, mimicking what a natural pancreas does.
“In both of these studies this device far exceeded our expectations in terms of its ability to regulate glucose, prevent hypoglycemia and automatically adapt to the very different needs of adults – some of whom were very insulin-sensitive – and adolescents, who typically need higher insulin doses,” says Edward Damiano, PhD, of the BU Department of Biomedical Engineering, principal investigator of the project and senior author of the NEJM report. “There’s no current standard-of-care therapy that could match the results we saw.” Continue>
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