A pilot study evaluating an artificial pancreas in children with Type I diabetes found that the device helped kids control their condition, according to researchers at the University of Virginia.
The artificial pancreas was developed at the UVA Center for Diabetes Technology and features a smartphone powered by algorithms that wirelessly link to a glucose monitor and insulin pump.
“In addition to automatically regulating the amount of insulin to be delivered, another important benefit of the artificial pancreas is to prevent hypoglycemic events that can have catastrophic consequences and is one of the most threatening situations for children with Type I diabetes and their parents,” Dr. Daniel Chernavvsky said in prepared remarks.
Chernavvsky is the chief medical officer at TypeZero Technologies, a Charlottesville-based company that licensed the artificial pancreas system from the University.
The pilot study evaluated how well 12 kids, ranging from 5 to 8 years old, were able to manage their diabetes using a traditional insulin pump and glucose monitor compared to the artificial pancreas. Children were monitored for 68 hours at a resort using the device and then for another 68 hours using their regular regimen.
The team concluded that kids in the study had lower blood-sugar levels, on average, and spent more time in the target blood-sugar range without an increase in hypoglycemia while using the artificial pancreas.
“The data show that the artificial pancreas, which delivers insulin in an automated way to individuals with Type I diabetes, appears to be safe and effective for use in young children age 5-8 years,” researcher Dr. Mark DeBoer said.
The team hopes to conduct another study with diabetic children and monitor the effectiveness of the system for a longer period of time.