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'Artificial Pancreas' for Type 1 Diabetes Patients in NHS England Pilot

An 'artificial pancreas' designed to revolutionise the life of people with type 1 diabetes will be provided by the NHS, NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens announced today.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation's conference this morning, Sir Simon said that up to 1000 adults and children will benefit from a pilot of the innovative closed loop technology, which continually monitors blood glucose and automatically adjusts the amount of insulin given through a pump. It can eliminate finger prick tests and prevent life-threatening hypoglycaemic attacks, as well as reducing carer burden.

Sir Simon said: "Living with diabetes is a daily challenge for millions of people across England, and this closed loop technology has the potential to make a remarkable difference to their lives.

"In a year that marks a century since insulin was discovered - which revolutionised the world of diabetes – this innovation is a prime example of the NHS's continued progress in modern medicine and technology."

Clinical Eligibility 

Patients who are offered hybrid closed loop will ordinarily already be using pump therapy and flash glucose monitors, or continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), and who are not achieving HbA1C <8.5%.

The Diabetes Technology Network (DTN), a sub-group of the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists (ABCD), has developed clinical eligibility criteria and a pathway for hybrid closed loop systems.

The NHS is in the process of confirming the specialist centres that will offer hybrid closed-loop. It will also ensure a representative mix of patients, including those from ethnic minorities, and more deprived communities.

Participating centres will submit data via the NHS's National Diabetes Audit and the results will feed into the evidence assessment undertaken by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to making non-invasive glucose monitoring technology available to 20% of diabetics and all pregnant women with type 1 diabetes. Maternity services across the country are now able to offer non-invasive glucose monitors to expectant mothers and over 40% of people living with type 1 diabetes benefiting from flash glucose monitoring.

Professor Partha Kar, NHS England's national speciality advisor for diabetes, said: "We have already outperformed the goals in the NHS Long Term Plan for better diabetes care, and this new technology is an extension of the fantastic work achieved by the NHS, third sector and industry partners who are working together to improve the lives of patients."

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.