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Artificial pancreas success in clinical trial

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A hi-tech “artificial pancreas” for diabetes patients has undergone a successful test run in a clinical trial.

The system uses an implanted blood sugar monitor linked to a small insulin pump worn by the patient.

Signals from the monitor cause the pump to adjust the amount of insulin it delivers to the bloodstream.

A feasibility study of 13 patients with Type 1 diabetes showed that the system worked as expected.

Rising and falling blood glucose was automatically tracked, and the insulin doses increased or reduced.

Special software is incorporated into the Hypoglycemia-Hyperglycemia Minimizer (HHM) system to predict changes in blood glucose.

Dr Aaron Kowalski, from the Type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, which developed the system in partnership with US medical device company Animas Corporation, said: “An artificial pancreas system that cannot only detect, but can predict high and low blood sugar levels and make automatic adjustments to insulin delivery would be a major advance for people with Type 1 diabetes. Such a system could alleviate a huge burden of managing this disease.”

Dr Henry Anhalt from Animas said: “The successful completion of this study using the HHM system in a human clinical trial setting is a significant step forward in the development of an advanced first-generation artificial pancreas system.”

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