Type 1 diabetes can significantly impact a person’s life, as people need to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly to ensure they do not become dangerously high or low.
Currently, people with type 1 diabetes measure their blood sugar levels by pricking a finger several times a day or wearing a glucose monitor. Depending on the measurements, they may have to administer insulin using an injection or insulin pump.
But a new form of technology trialed recently and showcased in the New England Journal of Medicine could replace these conventional methods.
The trial involved the use of the Control-IQ system — a new type of artificial pancreas that uses algorithms to adjust insulin doses automatically throughout the day.
“By making management of type 1 diabetes easier and more precise, this technology could reduce the daily burden of this disease, while also potentially reducing diabetes complications including eye, nerve, and kidney diseases,” says Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
The 6-month trial is part of a much larger research initiative known as the International Diabetes Closed-Loop (iDCL) Study, which involves the testing of several artificial pancreas systems to determine a variety of factors, such as safety, effectiveness, and user-friendliness.
The researchers assigned over 100 people to use the Control-IQ system, while 56 people formed a control group that used sensor-augmented pump (SAP) therapy. This therapy does not alter insulin doses automatically.
Researchers wanted to replicate day-to-day life, so they did not monitor the systems remotely. Participants did, however, contact researchers every few weeks to check data from the device.
The results showed that the blood sugar levels of the people who used the Control-IQ system were in the target range for an average of 2.6 hours per day longer than previously. Those using the SAP therapy saw no notable change throughout the trial.