Scientists make breakthrough; developing "artificial pancreas"

Updated: Feb 06, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

London: British scientists claim to have made a significant breakthrough towards developing a so-called "artificial pancreas" system for managing Type 1 Diabetes in children.

A team at Cambridge University has developed and even
tested a new algorithm, providing a "stepping stone" to home
testing for the artificial pancreas, British medical journal
`The Lancet` reported.

Their study shows that using an artificial
pancreas system overnight can significantly reduce the risk of
hypoglycemia, when blood glucose levels drop dangerously low,
while sleeping. These so-called "hypos" are major concern for
children and adults with type 1 diabetes.

As well as obviating the need for multiple daily
finger prick tests and insulin injections, the artificial
pancreas should offer better control of blood glucose levels
overnight, say the scientists.

In their study, 17 children and teenagers aged between
5 and 18 with type 1 diabetes were studied during 54 nights in
hospital. The team measured how well the artificial pancreas
system controlled glucose levels compared with the children`s
regular continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) pump,
which delivers insulin at pre-selected rates.

The study included nights when the children went to
bed after eating a large evening meal or having done early
evening exercise.