A device which acts as an ‘artificial pancreas’ can control overnight blood sugar levels in Type 1 diabetes sufferers, research has shown.
Cambridge scientists have developed a sensor with an insulin pump to measure glucose levels in children which may cut the risk of hypoglycaemia while they sleep.
The system takes real-time glucose readings from the body to calculate how much insulin to give, compared with a regular pump which delivers continuous medication throughout the night.
In a study of 17 children and teenagers with Type 1 diabetes, the artificial pancreas proved more effective than the regular pump, as it kept blood sugar levels in the normal range for 60% of the time rather than 40%.
It prevented blood glucose dipping below 3.0mmol/l, which is the “significant hypoglycaemia” level, and halved the number of times it fell below the ‘mild hypoglycaemia’ level of 3.9mmol/l.
Control groups using the regular pumps had nine significant hypos.
Dr Roman Hovorka, who led the study published in The Lancet, said: “Our results show that commercially-available devices, when coupled with the algorithm we developed, can improve glucose control in children and significantly reduce the risk of hypos overnight.”