Posted on Feb 12, 2013, 6 a.m.
Canadian researchers show improved glucose levels and lower risks of hypoglycemia via a dual-hormone artificial pancreas.
Type-1 diabetes is a chronic, incurable disease that occurs when the body fails to produce enough or any insulin, leading to an excess of sugar in the blood. Most often affecting children, adolescents or young adults, people with type-1 diabetes depend on insulin to live, either through daily injections or with a pump. Remi Rabasa-Lhoret, from the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal (Canada), and colleagues ‘have devised an artificial pancreas that is an automated system that simulates the normal pancreas by continuously adapting insulin delivery based on changes in glucose levels. The dual-hormone artificial pancreas controls glucose levels by automatically delivering insulin and glucagon, if necessary, based on continuous glucose monitor (CGM) readings and guided by an advanced algorithm. The team reports that: “the artificial pancreas improved glucose control by 15% and significantly reduced the risk of hypoglycemia as compared with conventional insulin pump therapy.” As well, they report that: “The artificial pancreas also resulted in an 8-fold reduction of the overall risk of hypoglycemia, and a 20-fold reduction of the risk of nocturnal hypoglycemia."
Ahmad Haidar, Laurent Legault, Maryse Dallaire, Ammar Alkhateeb, Adele Coriati, Remi Rabasa-Lhoret, et al. “Glucose-responsive insulin and glucagon delivery (dual-hormone artificial pancreas) in adults with type 1 diabetes: a randomized crossover controlled trial.” CMAJ, January 28, 2013.