A new fully automated and wearable artificial pancreas could be the next step in revolutionising treatment of type I diabetes.
Currently, type I diabetes sufferers have to inject themselves several times a day with insulin as their pancreas has ceased producing the hormone.
Researchers from a study conducted by Harvard University have therefore developed an artificial pancreas which releases insulin in response to fluctuating blood glucose levels.
The device is of course a matter of convenience, however a meta-analysis found in the British Medical Journal demonstrated that a closed-loop system (or one without any human interference), increased the amount of time in normogylcaemia by around 2 and a half hours a day as well as reduced hyperglycaemia by about 2 hours and hypoglycaemia by 20 minutes.
The artificial pancreas works using a smartphone application that is wirelessly connected to a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump.
From a patient’s perspective the device can easily be seen to lessen any patient’s general anxiety about injections, correct dosage, or hypoglycaemia or diabetic ketoacidosis.
It is estimated that a full-loop artificial pancreas system will reach market sometime in the next 5-10 years allowing sufferers to live their lives just like people without the condition.