Artificial pancreas improves blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes trial

Jack Woodfield
Fri, 10 Aug 2018
Artificial pancreas improves blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes trial
People with type 2 diabetes on insulin had improved control of their blood glucose levels after using an artificial pancreas, a new study reports.

The European study is the latest to report on the benefits of a closed-loop insulin-delivery system in type 2 diabetes.

Artificial pancreas technology is advancing rapidly. Designed to mimic the function of the pancreas, closed-loop devices typically comprise an insulin pump which communicates wirelessly to a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device.

Numerous trials, particularly within type 1 diabetes, have shown closed-loop devices to improve blood glucose levels, and research is expanding into its use for people with type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from universities of Bern (in Switzerland), Manchester and Cambridge (in England) studied 136 adults with type 2 diabetes, all of whom took insulin and were receiving noncritical care.

They spilt them into two groups, where 66 received care as usual governed by their own local healthcare professionals, and 70 were on a closed-loop insulin delivery.

Average glucose levels were significantly better within the artificial pancreas group 8.6 mmol/l (154 mg/dl), and this compared with 10.4 mmol/l (188 mg/dl) in the control group.

There were no significant between-group differences for hypoglycemia and no episodes of severe hypoglycemia were observed in either group.

The use of insulin in people with type 2 diabetes is a topic of debate in healthcare as insulin has benefits in reducing blood sugar levels but it can make weight loss harder to achieve.

However, some people who have lived with type 2 diabetes for many years can struggle to produce enough of their own insulin an may need insulin by injections or insulin pump to help to compensate.

An advantage of taking insulin by pump is that it gives the person with diabetes more control over when to deliver more insulin and when to reduce insulin delivery.

The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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