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Artificial Beta Cell Technology Proves Useful at Home

New results published about usefulness of artificial beta cell technology in type 1 diabetes patients

Artificial beta cell technology is still fairly new and the feasibility, safety and efficacy of its prolonged use in the home setting have not been well-established. A recent study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine evaluating the use of artificial beta cell technology over the course of 12 weeks.

The study was two randomized, multicenter, crossover controlled studies that compared the use of a traditional closed-loop insulin delivery device with sensor-augmented pump therapy in 58 patients with type 1 diabetes. Each patient used the closed-loop insulin delivery device for 12 weeks then used the sensor-augmented pump therapy for 12 weeks and served as a comparator to themselves.

The researchers measured how much time the patients were within an acceptable glucose range, 70-180 mg/dl for adults.

Among adults, the glucose level was within range nearly 11% more of the time with use of the closed-loop artificial beta cell system. Furthermore, the mean glucose level was -11 mg/dl lower with the closed-loop system than the sensor-augmented pump.

Overall, 12-week use of a closed-loop system resulted in improved glucose control, reduced hypoglycemia and in adults, a lower hemoglobin A1C level.

Such technology would be very useful for patients while they sleep or play sports and proves useful in suggesting the type 1 diabetes technology of the future is effective for home-use. Various models may be tested in the future to determine how effective the technology is for daytime use, as well.

Practice Pearls:

  • Little has been established about the safe and effective home-use of artificial beta cell technology in type 1 diabetes patients.
  • In this study, 58 patients were instructed to use artificial beta cell technology and sensor-augmented insulin pump therapy for 12 weeks for measurement of their glucose levels throughout the day.
  • The findings suggest artificial beta cell technology is safe and has better glycemic management than sensor-augmented pumps.

Hood, Thabit, Martin Tauschmann, Janet M. Allen et al. “Home Use of an Artificial Beta Cell in Type 1 Diabetes.” NEJM. (2015). Web. 2 Oct. 2015. <http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1509351?query=featured_home>.