An artificial pancreas device has shown to improve blood sugar levels in hospitalised people with type 2 diabetes, compared with those who just received insulin.
The international research team reporting the findings say this is the first study to demonstrate the system’s effectiveness in treating type 2 diabetes outside a clinical care setting.
The artificial pancreas used in the study deployed a closed-loop system, where users wear a continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump. The devices then connect to a small computer which uses an algorithm to calculate glucose levels.

The closed-loop system has long been pioneered by the University of Cambridge in the UK, and Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge looked to expand on the research, working with University Hospital in Ber, Switzerland to assess its value in lowering blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
A total of 136 adults were assigned to either closed-loop insulin system or conventional insulin therapy. Those in the closed-loop group spent 65.8% of time in their blood glucose target range, compared with only 41.5% of the time among those on just insulin.
Both groups received similar amounts of insulin, which lead author Roman Hovorka, director of research at the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories, said evidenced that insulin was more efficient when catered to patients’ individual needs.
“I think the potential for improving glucose control is definitely there,” said Hovorka. “It’s mimicking important functions of the pancreas but not the whole function of the pancreas.”
Unfortunately, irritated skin from the sensor’s adhesive was reported by several patients, along with bruising from insertion of the tube, which Hovorka acknowledges needs addressing.
“To be able to use this technology widely in the clinic, some of these technological issues will need improvement. These issues are being sorted out, but … it is not technology which is foolproof.”
Discussing how the device could affect health outcomes in hospitalised patients, and whether it would be cost-effective, Hovorka said key considerations include length of hospital stay, rates of infection and other complications.
The findings appear in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Type 2 diabetes found to be a ‘significant risk factor’ among stroke victims

More evidence has been published which supports that diabetes is a “significant…

Conversation about doctors’ appointments occurring virtually rumbles on

More than half of GP appointments are still being delivered remotely in…

Coronavirus: UK instructed to stay at home this weekend

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that staying at home this weekend…