London, Oct 4 : A novel artificial pancreas system can control blood sugar levels better than insulin injections for both children and older adults with Type-1 diabetes, results of a clinical trial have shown.
The findings, published in The Lancet, showed that the closed-loop insulin delivery system, as it is called, is better than sensor-augmented pump therapy for blood sugar control and reduced risk of hypoglycaemia -- low sugar condition -- in poorly controlled Type-1 diabetes patients.
"The use of day-and-night hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery improves glycaemic control while reducing the risk of hypoglycaemia in adults, adolescents and children with Type-1 diabetes compared to conventional pump therapy or sensor-augmented pump therapy," said researchers including Roman Hovorka from the UK's University of Cambridge.
"Type 1 diabetes is a challenging condition, but these results take us a step closer to changing the lives of millions of people that live with the condition across the world," the researchers added.
The artificial pancreas resembles an iPod and is strapped to patients' clothing with a small monitor and pump fitted to their skin and can both monitor blood sugar as well as inject insulin automatically if blood sugar gets too high, the Daily Mail reported.
The device also allows patients to add doses of insulin manually, for example when they are about to eat a big meal.
Insulin pumps, on the other hand, monitors people's blood sugar levels and warn them when it gets too low or high so they know whether to inject insulin or eat more.
For the trial, the team randomly assigned 44 male and 42 female patients with Type-1 diabetes aged six years and older to receive either hybrid closed-loop therapy or sensor-augmented pump therapy over 12 weeks.
The amount of time people spent with 'dangerously' high or low blood sugar fell by 25 per cent for people using the artificial pancreas, but rose by 18 per cent for people using an ordinary insulin pump, the report said.
The device was shown to work for children as young as six - a crucial finding for a condition which often strikes in childhood.