Last updated April 23, 2018 at 11:29 am
An ‘artificial pancreas’ may be the key to helping people with type 1 diabetes manage their condition more effectively.
An internal monitoring system that calculates the rate of insulin release could remove the biggest dilemma with self-management – getting the dose right each time you have to inject, Greek researchers suggest.
However, they and others caution that the results are preliminary and further investigation is required.
The team from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki reviewed the results of 41 randomised controlled trials involving more than 1,000 people that compared artificial systems with other types of insulin-based treatment, including insulin pump therapy.
Reduced time in hyperglycaemia
They found the artificial pancreas was associated with almost two and a half extra hours in normoglycaemia compared with other types of treatment when used overnight and over a 24-hour period.
It also reduced time spent in hyperglycaemia by about two hours and in hypoglycaemia by 20 minutes
The closed loop artificial system has four components: the pump, a continuous glucose monitoring system, the decision making microprocessor, and a system that adjusts infusion rate.
The microprocessor replaces human decision-making, and makes more frequent dose adjustments than a person could.
The authors say their review provides a valid and up-to-date overview on the use of artificial pancreas systems for type 1 diabetes.
However, they point out that most trials were at high or unclear risk of bias, had a small sample size and short duration, and therefore should be interpreted with caution.
More also should be done to assess cost-effectiveness “to support adoption of artificial pancreas systems in clinical practice.”
They also recommend that future research should “explore artificial pancreas use in relevant groups of people with type 2 diabetes” and say “the effect of artificial pancreas use on quality of life and on reducing patient burden should be further explored”.