NIH grantees test device for people with type 1 diabetes to replace fingerstick tests, manual insulin injections
People with type 1 diabetes who used a bionic pancreas instead of manually monitoring glucose using fingerstick tests and delivering insulin using a pump were more likely to have blood glucose levels consistently within the normal range, with fewer dangerous lows or highs. The full report of the findings, funded by the National Institutes of Health, can be found online June 15 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
From right, researcher Dr. Steven Russell of Massachusetts General Hospital stands with Frank Spesia and Colby Clarizia, two participants in a type 1 diabetes trial testing an electronic device called a bionic pancreas -- the cellphone-sized device shown -- which replaces their traditional fingerstick tests and manual insulin pumps. Alt tag -- Image of Dr. Steven Russell and two patients.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Adam Brown, diaTribe.org
The researchers – at Boston University and Massachusetts General Hospital – say the process of blood glucose control could improve dramatically with the bionic pancreas. Currently, people with type 1 diabetes walk an endless tightrope. Because their pancreas doesn't make the hormone insulin, their blood glucose levels can veer dangerously high and low. Several times a day they must use fingerstick tests to monitor their blood glucose levels and manually take insulin by injection or from a pump.
In two scenarios, the researchers tested a bihormonal bionic pancreas, which uses a removable tiny sensor located in a thin needle inserted under the skin that automatically monitors real time glucose levels in tissue fluid and provides insulin and its counteracting hormone, glucagon, via two automatic pumps. In one scenario, 20 adults wore this device combination and carried a cell phone-sized wireless monitor around Boston for five days, unrestricted in their activities. In the other, 32 youth wore the device combination for five days at a camp for children with type 1 diabetes. Both groups were also monitored for five days wearing their own conventional pumps that deliver insulin.
"The bionic pancreas system reduced the average blood glucose to levels that have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of diabetic complications," said co-first author Steven Russell, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. "This is tremendously difficult with currently available technology, and so most people with diabetes are unable to achieve these levels."
The researchers found about 37 percent fewer interventions for low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) and a more than twofold reduction in the time in hypoglycemia in adults using the bionic pancreas than with the manual pump. For adolescents using the bionic pancreas, results showed more than a twofold reduction in the need for interventions for hypoglycemia. As well, both groups had significant improvements in glucose levels with the bionic pancreas, particularly during the night.
"The performance of our system in both adults and adolescents exceeded our expectations under very challenging real-world conditions," said Ed Damiano, Ph.D., the paper's senior author, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University and the parent of a son with type 1 diabetes.
"A cure is always the end goal," he said. "As that goal remains elusive, a truly automated technology, which can consistently and relentlessly keep people healthy and safe from harm of hypoglycemia, would lift an enormous emotional and practical burden from the shoulders of people with type 1 diabetes, including my child and so many others."
Just as a thermostat helps control a home's temperature, the normal pancreas senses blood glucose levels and adjusts the hormones that control it. People with type 1 diabetes, whose pancreas produces little or no insulin, have been using the equivalent of a manual thermostat, needing constant checking and adjustment. A bionic pancreas – like the one used in these studies – would function more like an automated thermostat, automatically monitoring blood glucose and delivering insulin or glucagon when needed to keep glucose within the normal range. As well, these bionic pancreas devices could be monitored remotely by the patient's medical provider or parent.
"With promising results such as these, we plan to support larger multicenter trials of the artificial pancreas in the near future," said Guillermo Arreaza-Rubín, M.D., the project officer for artificial pancreas studies funded by the NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). "Within the next few years, we hope these technologies will go beyond experimental trials and be available to benefit more people with type 1 diabetes."
"The landmark Diabetes Control and Complications study – also funded by NIDDK – has long shown that maintaining as normal a blood glucose level as possible early on can stave off complications, including heart, kidney and eye diseases, decades later," said NIDDK Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D. "By funding research on the artificial pancreas, we aim to help people with type 1 diabetes maintain healthy blood glucose levels, prevent painful and costly complications, and lead freer, healthier lives."
Among other funding sources, this research was supported by NIDDK grants R01DK085633 and R01DK097657, and was made possible by the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research. The program was established by Congress for research to prevent and cure type 1 diabetes.
The NIDDK, part of the NIH, conducts and supports basic and clinical research and research training on some of the most common, severe and disabling conditions affecting Americans. The Institute's research interests include: diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition, and obesity; and kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases. For more information, visit http://www.niddk.nih.gov/.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.
NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health
Amy F. Reiter | Eurek Alert!
Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences