First ever artificial pancreas fitted into boy with type 1 diabetes

Wed, 21 Jan 2015
A four-year-old boy from Perth has become the first person in the world to have an insulin pump-like artificial pancreas fitted to manage his type 1 diabetes.

Xavier Hames' new pancreas-like insulin pump can identify when his blood sugar levels are low and regulate them, mimicking how the pancreas can predict low glucose levels and prevent the delivery of insulin.

Specialists at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Australia, researched and tested the insulin pump through clinical trials across a network of Australian hospitals.

The clinical trials lasted five years and the device is now available commercially for $10,000, but the pump is reportedly scheduled to become easily accessible and more affordable.

Professor Tim Jones at Princess Margaret Hospital believes the lives of type 1 diabetics will become much easier with the pump, especially during night-time.

"The majority of hypoglycemic attacks occur at night when a person is asleep and they might not be able to react or recognize the attack. This device can predict hypoglycemia before it happens and stop insulin delivery before a predicted event," Jones said.

Researchers at the hospital are now aiming to develop a fully automatic device which can monitor blood sugar levels consistently and adjust insulin levels accordingly.

This would alleviate the need for people with type 1 diabetes to continually prick their fingers to test blood sugar and inject insulin daily.
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