Researchers at Cambridge University have made a breakthrough in the fight against type-2 diabetes by successfully conducting a trial of an artificial pancreas. The device, powered by an algorithm, combines an off-the-shelf glucose monitor and insulin pump with an app known as CamAPS HX. The app predicts the amount of insulin required to maintain healthy glucose levels in the target range.
The burden of diabetes is on the rise globally, with an estimated 77 million individuals diagnosed with diabetes in India in 2019. This number is expected to rise to over 134 million by 2045. The newly developed system could aid countries like India in combating the diabetic burden.
“Many people with type 2 diabetes struggle to manage their blood sugar levels using the currently available treatments, such as insulin injections. The artificial pancreas can provide a safe and effective approach to help them, and the technology is simple to use and can be implemented safely at home,” said Dr. Charlotte Boughton, who co-led the study.
The trial, which was published in the journal Nature Medicine, included 26 patients who were randomly allocated to one of two groups. The first group trialed the artificial pancreas for eight weeks before switching to the standard therapy of multiple daily insulin injections. The second group took the control therapy first and then switched to the artificial pancreas after eight weeks. The results showed that average glucose levels fell from 12.6mmol/L when taking the control therapy to 9.2mmol/L while using the artificial pancreas. The device also helped in reducing the levels of a molecule known as glycated hemoglobin, or HbA1c, which is developed when hemoglobin joins with glucose in the blood.
Researchers now plan to carry out a multicenter study to build on their findings and make the device commercially available for patients. The artificial pancreas could provide a safe and effective solution for those struggling to manage their blood sugar levels, and may be a game-changer in the fight against type-2 diabetes.