Artificial pancreas is effective for blood glucose control

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A new artificial pancreas that automates insulin delivery, also called a closed-loop system, was more effective than existing treatments at controlling blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetic patients.

Results of a multicenter randomized clinical trial, published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, show that the use of Tandem Diabetes Care’s Control-IQ artificial pancreas system “was associated with a greater percentage of time spent in a target glycemic range than the use of a sensor-augmented insulin pump.”

The “all-in-one” diabetes management system, which includes an insulin pump, glucose sensor and algorithm that automatically monitors and regulates blood glucose levels, was developed from research conducted at the Center for Diabetes Technology at the University of Virginia.

“This artificial pancreas system has several unique features that improve glucose control beyond what is achievable using traditional methods,” says study co-lead author Boris Kovatchev, director of the UVA Center for Diabetes Technology. “In particular, there is a special safety module dedicated to prevention of hypoglycemia, and there is gradually intensified control overnight to achieve near-normal blood sugar levels every morning.”

The system’s insulin pump is programmed with advanced control algorithms—based on a mathematical model—that leverages a patient’s glucose monitoring data to automatically adjust the insulin dose.

“Artificial pancreas technology has tremendous potential to improve the day-to-day lives of people with type 1 diabetes,” said Griffin Rodgers, MD, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which primarily funded the trial. “By making management of type 1 diabetes easier and more precise, this technology could reduce the daily burden of this disease, while also potentially reducing diabetes complications including eye, nerve, and kidney diseases.”

Tandem Diabetes Care, which provided the experimental closed-loop systems, supplies, and technical expertise for the clinical trial, has submitted the study’s results to the Food and Drug Administration for approval to market the Control-IQ system.

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