Toronto: Compared to conventional diabetes treatment, an external artificial pancreas can improve glucose control and treatment of Type-1 diabetes, shows a study.
Type-1 diabetes, a chronic disease that can cause vision loss and cardiovascular diseases, results from the autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, leading to increased blood and urine glucose.
An emerging technology to treat Type-1 diabetes, the external artificial pancreas is an automated system that simulates the normal pancreas by continuously adapting insulin delivery based on changes in glucose levels.
Two configurations exist: The single-hormone artificial pancreas that delivers insulin alone and the dual-hormone artificial pancreas that delivers both insulin and glucagon.
While insulin lowers blood glucose levels, glucagon has the opposite effect and raises glucose levels.
"Our study confirms that both artificial pancreas systems improve glucose control and reduce the risk of hypoglycemia compared to conventional pump therapy," explained engineer Ahmad Haidar, first author of the study from Institut De Recherche Clinique De Montreal (IRCM).
The researchers compared the dual-hormone artificial pancreas, the single-hormone artificial pancreas and the conventional insulin pump therapy in 30 adult and adolescent patients with Type-1 diabetes, who had been using an insulin pump for at least three months.
The researchers are pursuing clinical trials on the artificial pancreas to test the system for longer periods and with larger patient cohorts.
The technology should be available commercially within the next five to seven years, with early generations focusing on overnight glucose control.
The study appeared in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.