The researchers - at
In two scenarios, the researchers tested a bihormonal bionic pancreas, which uses a removable tiny sensor located in a thin needle inserted under the skin that automatically monitors real time glucose levels in tissue fluid and provides insulin and its counteracting hormone, glucagon, via two automatic pumps. In one scenario, 20 adults wore this device combination and carried a cell phone-sized wireless monitor around
"The bionic pancreas system reduced the average blood glucose to levels that have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of diabetic complications," said co-first author
The researchers found about 37 percent fewer interventions for low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) and a more than twofold reduction in the time in hypoglycemia in adults using the bionic pancreas than with the manual pump. For adolescents using the bionic pancreas, results showed more than a twofold reduction in the need for interventions for hypoglycemia. As well, both groups had significant improvements in glucose levels with the bionic pancreas, particularly during the night.
"The performance of our system in both adults and adolescents exceeded our expectations under very challenging real-world conditions," said
"A cure is always the end goal," he said. "As that goal remains elusive, a truly automated technology, which can consistently and relentlessly keep people healthy and safe from harm of hypoglycemia, would lift an enormous emotional and practical burden from the shoulders of people with type 1 diabetes, including my child and so many others."
Just as a thermostat helps control a home's temperature, the normal pancreas senses blood glucose levels and adjusts the hormones that control it. People with type 1 diabetes, whose pancreas produces little or no insulin, have been using the equivalent of a manual thermostat, needing constant checking and adjustment. A bionic pancreas - like the one used in these studies - would function more like an automated thermostat, automatically monitoring blood glucose and delivering insulin or glucagon when needed to keep glucose within the normal range. As well, these bionic pancreas devices could be monitored remotely by the patient's medical provider or parent.
"With promising results such as these, we plan to support larger multicenter trials of the artificial pancreas in the near future," said
"The landmark Diabetes Control and Complications study - also funded by NIDDK - has long shown that maintaining as normal a blood glucose level as possible early on can stave off complications, including heart, kidney and eye diseases, decades later," said NIDDK Director
Keywords for this news article include: Drugs, Therapy, Hospital, Pancreas, Proinsulin, Technology, Proglucagon, Hypoglycemia, Gastroenterology, Peptide Hormones, Metabolic Diseases, Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, Glucose Metabolism Disorders, Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus, Government Agencies Offices and Entities.
Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC
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