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'Artificial pancreas' trial begins in Oxfordshire

Researchers want to know if an artificial pancreas is better at helping people to manage their glucose levels Photo: ITV Meridian

A ground breaking study at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital is hoping to make the management of type 1 diabetes in newly diagnosed children a lot less stressful.

In the "Closed Loop from Onset in Type 1 Diabetes" (CLOuD) study, an insulin pump is connected via bluetooth to a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and a mobile phone app.

A pump is a portable device given to people with diabetes to deliver insulin through a tube placed under the skin. A CGM is a sensor attached to the skin which measures glucose levels and transmits these to the app to calculate how much insulin the pump needs to deliver.

This is known as an artificial pancreas because the app adjusts the amount of insulin delivered by the pump according to the glucose levels present, as the pancreas does in those without diabetes.

Researchers want to find out if an artificial pancreas is more effective at preserving the body's insulin producing cells in the pancreas than multiple daily injections with an insulin pen in those newly diagnosed.

Dr Rachel Besser leads the study at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Pictured: Dr Rachel Besser

We hope that this technology will control blood sugars better and preserve the function of the pancreas in children with type 1 diabetes. If the function of the pancreas can be preserved it makes living with diabetes that much easier; there will be less swings in blood sugar levels; less lows, and less highs after eating. In the longer-term that should reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications, such as eye disease, kidney disease and early death from heart disease."

– Dr Rachel Besser, Paediatric Diabetologist, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Jack Newman was 16 when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

At 18-years-old, he is now half way through this new trial.

The system makes me feel like my blood sugar is a lot more stable and in range a lot more. This definitely helps me. It puts me in a better mood because if my blood sugar is too high or too low, too often, it really puts me out of whack."

– Jack Newman

Watch the full report by Mel Bloor below:

Children and young people recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 10 to 17 are invited to take part in the study, which is open until 2019.

For more information visit cloud.mrl.ims.cam.ac.uk