BOSTON — Use of a bionic pancreas in a summer camp setting was effective in controlling glucose levels and reducing the amount of hypoglycemia in children, according to study findings.
“We’re trying to solve ... the difficulties associated with controlling blood glucose with the current tools; it’s very challenging for patients,” Steven J. Russell, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, said during a presentation. “Most people are not able to meet glycemic targets with the currently available tools. ... People spend a lot of time managing their diabetes, and there’s a lot of worry associated with the risk of hypoglycemia, especially during sleep.”
Russell and colleagues evaluated 19 children aged 6 to 11 years with type 1 diabetes at a diabetes summer camp to determine the effectiveness of an automated bihormonal bionic pancreas compared with insulin pump therapy on glucose regulation. The children participated in both the bionic pancreas and insulin pump groups for 5 days in random order. The participants’ weight was used to initialize the bionic pancreas.
“There is no information about the patient’s past insulin regimen,” Russell said. “It automatically delivers both insulin and glucagon, so it has a capability to automatically lower and raise blood glucose. It adapts to the individual’s insulin needs over a relatively short period of time. It starts off relatively conservatively, so most of the insulin doses that it gives do not require much adaption.”
All participants were also monitored for hypoglycemia and were treated with carbohydrates when necessary.
Compared with insulin pump therapy, the bionic pancreas produced a lower mean glucose level (P < .001), less time spent at less than 60 mg/dL (P < .001), more time at 70 mg/dL to 80 mg/dL (P < .001) and less time at more than 180 mg/dL (P < .001). The need for carbohydrate treatment for hypoglycemia was lower in the bionic pancreas group (P = .04).
“In summary, we showed that in this very challenging setting with lots of exercise, that the bionic pancreas was both able to lower the mean glucose and at the same time reduce the amount of hypoglycemia and the need for carbohydrate intervention and require very little input from the camp counselors,” Russell said. – by Amber Cox
El-Khatib FH, et al. Abstract 222-OR. Presented at: American Diabetes Association’s 75th Scientific Sessions; June 5-9, 2015; Boston.
Russell reports various financial ties with Abbott Diabetes Care Inc., Companion Medical, Dexcom Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, Insulet Corp., International Biomedical, Medtronic MiniMed Inc., Sanofi U.S. and Tandem Diabetes Care Inc.