An artificial pancreas able to control type 1 diabetes in children has been developed by scientists at Cambridge University in the UK.
The artificial pancreas system can significantly reduce the risk of hypoglycemia overnight while the patient sleeps, when blood glucose levels drop dangerously low, the study has found.
The system combines a continuous glucose monitor, an insulin pump and employs a sophisticated algorithm to calculate the appropriate amount of insulin to deliver based on the real-time glucose readings.
Observing 17 children and teenagers aged between five and 18 with type 1 diabetes at Addenbrooke's Hospital, the team said the artificial pancreas system better controlled glucose levels than a continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) pump.
The study included nights when the children went to bed after eating a large evening meal or having done early evening exercise, both of which are challenging situations to manage.
The artificial pancreas prevented blood glucose falling below 3.0mmol/l and kept levels in the normal range for 60% of the time, compared with 40% for the CSII, the study said.
The study published in The Lancet was funded by Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).