Diabetes Treatment Set To Be Revolutionised After Scientific Breakthrough
Diabetes treatment set to be revolutionised after scientific breakthrough
Ground-breaking device, hailed in the US as a “game changer” in controlling the disease, checks blood sugar levels and delivers life-saving insulin as required
Scientists have developed an artificial pancreas set to revolutionise the treatment of diabetes .
The ground-breaking device, hailed in the US as a “game changer” in controlling the disease, checks blood sugar levels and delivers life-saving insulin as required.
The device has been trialled on patients in the UK and could soon become routinely available.
Sarah Johnson, a director at JDRF, the Type 1 diabetes charity, said: “We have been funding research for this breakthrough for over a decade. We are incredibly excited about it. Our next effort will be to get UK regulatory approval and get it to people through the NHS .”
Professor Bruce Buckingham, a specialist in diabetes at Stanford University, California, who helped run trials of the system, said: “This is a real game changer in controlling blood glucose levels and a revolution in diabetes treatment.
“It has been shown to work in Type 1 diabetes patients, but it could also be used on people with Type 2.”
The MiniMed 670G can be implanted anywhere on the body. It features a sensor the size of a large coin that monitors glucose levels and a separate insulin pump, the size of a wafer-thin matchbox, that responds to the monitor and automatically infuses insulin into the body as needed via a catheter.
This frees patients of the need constantly to check blood glucose levels and deliver their own insulin injections to avoid serious complications, including sudden death if blood sugar plunges too low.
All people with Type 1 diabetes and many with insulin-dependent Type 2 must constantly check their blood sugar throughout the day, injecting insulin according to what they eat and how much they exercise.
The news comes as figures released to this paper from NHS Digital reveal the number of people with Type 2 diabetes – associated with obesity and poor diet – has risen threefold to almost 1.5 million in the last decade.
Last week the new artificial pancreas was approved by the American drug regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, for Type 1 diabetes – when the body mistakenly destroys pancreatic cells that control blood sugar leading to complications such as blindness, stroke, kidney failure and even death.
The FDA decision came after the results of trials on 100 adults and 40 children, published in leading Journal of The American Medical Association, showed it was effective.
Now UK researchers are pushing for UK regulatory approval and NHS provision.
Laura Carver, 28, who lives in Wymondham, Norfolk, with husband Gordon and baby Sonny, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was two years old and used one of the devices as part of a trial with pregnant women being run in the east of England.
The former fundraiser for a hospice, who had to inject up to six times a day and check her glucose levels 10 times a day, said it completely transformed her life.
She said: “It was brilliant. Aside from a cure it was the next best thing and I hardly had to think about my condition. “If the technology was available for use here on a permanent basis I would jump at the chance.”