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Patients with type 2 diabetes may soon receive artificial pancreas and a smartphone app assistance

Curator and Reporter: Dr. Premalata Pati, Ph.D., Postdoc

In a brief, randomized crossover investigation, adults with type 2 diabetes and end-stage renal disease who needed dialysis benefited from an artificial pancreas. Tests conducted by the University of Cambridge and Inselspital, University Hospital of Bern, Switzerland, reveal that now the device can help patients safely and effectively monitor their blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of low blood sugar levels.

Diabetes is the most prevalent cause of kidney failure, accounting for just under one-third (30%) of all cases. As the number of people living with type 2 diabetes rises, so does the number of people who require dialysis or a kidney transplant. Kidney failure raises the risk of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, or unusually low or high blood sugar levels, which can lead to problems ranging from dizziness to falls and even coma.

Diabetes management in adults with renal failure is difficult for both the patients and the healthcare practitioners. Many components of their therapy, including blood sugar level targets and medications, are poorly understood. Because most oral diabetes drugs are not indicated for these patients, insulin injections are the most often utilized diabetic therapy-yet establishing optimum insulin dose regimes is difficult.

A team from the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust earlier developed an artificial pancreas with the goal of replacing insulin injections for type 1 diabetic patients. The team, collaborating with experts at Bern University Hospital and the University of Bern in Switzerland, demonstrated that the device may be used to help patients with type 2 diabetes and renal failure in a study published on 4 August 2021 in Nature Medicine.

The study’s lead author, Dr Charlotte Boughton of the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge, stated:

Patients living with type 2 diabetes and kidney failure are a particularly vulnerable group and managing their condition-trying to prevent potentially dangerous highs or lows of blood sugar levels – can be a challenge. There’s a real unmet need for new approaches to help them manage their condition safely and effectively.

The Device

The artificial pancreas is a compact, portable medical device that uses digital technology to automate insulin delivery to perform the role of a healthy pancreas in managing blood glucose levels. The system is worn on the outside of the body and consists of three functional components:

  • a glucose sensor
  • a computer algorithm for calculating the insulin dose
  • an insulin pump

The artificial pancreas directed insulin delivery on a Dana Diabecare RS pump using a Dexcom G6 transmitter linked to the Cambridge adaptive model predictive control algorithm, automatically administering faster-acting insulin aspart (Fiasp). The CamDiab CamAPS HX closed-loop app on an unlocked Android phone was used to manage the closed loop system, with a goal glucose of 126 mg/dL. The program calculated an insulin infusion rate based on the data from the G6 sensor every 8 to 12 minutes, which was then wirelessly routed to the insulin pump, with data automatically uploaded to the Diasend/Glooko data management platform.

The Case Study

Between October 2019 and November 2020, the team recruited 26 dialysis patients. Thirteen patients were randomly assigned to get the artificial pancreas first, followed by 13 patients who received normal insulin therapy initially. The researchers compared how long patients spent as outpatients in the target blood sugar range (5.6 to 10.0mmol/L) throughout a 20-day period.

Patients who used the artificial pancreas spent 53 % in the target range on average, compared to 38% who utilized the control treatment. When compared to the control therapy, this translated to approximately 3.5 more hours per day spent in the target range.

The artificial pancreas resulted in reduced mean blood sugar levels (10.1 vs. 11.6 mmol/L). The artificial pancreas cut the amount of time patients spent with potentially dangerously low blood sugar levels, known as ‘hypos.’

The artificial pancreas’ efficacy improved significantly over the research period as the algorithm evolved, and the time spent in the target blood sugar range climbed from 36% on day one to over 60% by the twentieth day. This conclusion emphasizes the need of employing an adaptive algorithm that can adapt to an individual’s fluctuating insulin requirements over time.

When asked if they would recommend the artificial pancreas to others, everyone who responded indicated they would. Nine out of ten (92%) said they spent less time controlling their diabetes with the artificial pancreas than they did during the control period, and a comparable amount (87%) said they were less concerned about their blood sugar levels when using it.

Other advantages of the artificial pancreas mentioned by study participants included fewer finger-prick blood sugar tests, less time spent managing their diabetes, resulting in more personal time and independence, and increased peace of mind and reassurance. One disadvantage was the pain of wearing the insulin pump and carrying the smartphone.

Professor Roman Hovorka, a senior author from the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, mentioned:

Not only did the artificial pancreas increase the amount of time patients spent within the target range for the blood sugar levels, but it also gave the users peace of mind. They were able to spend less time having to focus on managing their condition and worrying about the blood sugar levels, and more time getting on with their lives.

The team is currently testing the artificial pancreas in outpatient settings in persons with type 2 diabetes who do not require dialysis, as well as in difficult medical scenarios such as perioperative care.

The artificial pancreas has the potential to become a fundamental part of integrated personalized care for people with complicated medical needs,” said Dr Lia Bally, who co-led the study in Bern.

The authors stated that the study’s shortcomings included a small sample size due to “Brexit-related study funding concerns and the COVID-19 epidemic.”

Boughton concluded:

We would like other clinicians to be aware that automated insulin delivery systems may be a safe and effective treatment option for people with type 2 diabetes and kidney failure in the future.

Main Source:

Boughton, C. K., Tripyla, A., Hartnell, S., Daly, A., Herzig, D., Wilinska, M. E., & Hovorka, R. (2021). Fully automated closed-loop glucose control compared with standard insulin therapy in adults with type 2 diabetes requiring dialysis: an open-label, randomized crossover trial. Nature Medicine, 1-6.

Other Related Articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

Developing Machine Learning Models for Prediction of Onset of Type-2 Diabetes

Reporter: Amandeep Kaur, B.Sc., M.Sc.

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2021/05/29/developing-machine-learning-models-for-prediction-of-onset-of-type-2-diabetes/

Artificial pancreas effectively controls type 1 diabetes in children age 6 and up

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2020/10/08/artificial-pancreas-effectively-controls-type-1-diabetes-in-children-age-6-and-up/

Google, Verily’s Uses AI to Screen for Diabetic Retinopathy

Reporter : Irina Robu, PhD

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2019/04/08/49900/

World’s first artificial pancreas

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2019/05/16/worlds-first-artificial-pancreas/

Artificial Pancreas – Medtronic Receives FDA Approval for World’s First Hybrid Closed Loop System for People with Type 1 Diabetes

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/09/30/artificial-pancreas-medtronic-receives-fda-approval-for-worlds-first-hybrid-closed-loop-system-for-people-with-type-1-diabetes/

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Wearable dialysis

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

LPBI

 

This wearable artificial kidney, being tested at UW, just got fast-tracked by the FDA

http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/health-care-inc/2015/11/this-wearable-artificial-kidney-being-tested-at-uw.html

Annie Zak  Staff Writer – Puget Sound Business Journal

Annie Zak covers the health care and biotechnology industries, as well as transportation.

A device that would provide a massive improvement in treatment for dialysis patients had what was deemed a successful first

A device that could revolutionize dialysis treatment just got the green-light to befast-tracked through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval process.

The wearable artificial kidney device, or WAK, is currently being tested in clinical trials at UW Medical Center. It is a miniature, 10-pound dialysis machine that a patient can wear around his or her body like a tool belt. The system is also attached to the person using a catheter.

The device is a huge improvement compared to other dialysis machines, which land patients with kidney problems (such as kidney disease) in a chair for several hours, multiple times a week. The WAK instead allows for mobility during treatment.

In the first U.S. clinical trial for the device, the WAK “performed successfully … despite technical issues that halted the trial early.” Seven patients participated in this trial.

As a result, the FDA has granted “expedited access pathway” status to the device. Research and development for the device will be fast-tracked as its components are redesigned to address technical issues. That means it will have a shorter path to market than waiting in line behind other medical devices that are seeking approval.

Developed by Victor Gura of the University of California-Los Angeles, the device is set apart from standard machines because it runs on batteries and has no need to be attached to an outlet.

Trials of the device have already happened in Europe, but these tests at UW Medical Center are the first in the U.S.

 

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