Hundreds of people with type 1 diabetes in the Midlands benefit from life altering NHS pilot of artificial pancreases

Hundreds of people with type 1 diabetes in the Midlands benefit from life altering NHS pilot of artificial pancreases 

Over 250 adults and children with type 1 diabetes in the Midlands have been given the opportunity to use the life-altering ‘artificial pancreas’ by the NHS as part of the first nationwide pilot to assess the effectiveness of this technology in the world.

One century after the first diabetes patient was given insulin, around 35 NHS diabetes centres across the country are piloting the revolutionary hybrid closed loop system – also known as an ‘artificial pancreas’ – with 875 people benefiting for a year so far.

Specialist diabetes centres taking part in the pilot in the Midlands are at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

The innovative ‘hybrid closed loop technology’, 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 and hyperglycaemia attacks, which can lead to seizures, coma or even death for people living with type 1 diabetes.

NHS experts want to discover whether the tech can help people with diabetes, of all ages, to safely and effectively control their condition, in a real-world setting, in the first nationwide test of its kind in the world.

Among the specific criteria for adults to take part in the pilot are those that:

  • Have type 1 diabetes
  • Use an insulin pump and have used the freestyle libre for more than 3 months

Professor Pratik Choudhary, Clinical Lead for type 1 diabetes in the Midlands and chair of the National Diabetes Technology Network, said:

“We know that living with type 1 diabetes is incredibly hard work. So, we are really pleased that we were able to get access to this technology which has transformed the lives of people who are in this pilot giving them amazing glucose control whilst allowing them to get on with their lives.

“Blood glucose levels we are seeing people achieve through this technology could make significant life changing complications from type 1 diabetes a thing of the past.”

Peter Shorrick, Head of Midlands and East of England, Diabetes UK, said:

“This technology has the potential to transform the lives of people with type 1 diabetes, improving both their quality of life and clinical outcomes.

“The trial will generate real-world data which will hopefully support the case for more people having access to this life-changing tech in the future. And while widening access to diabetes tech remains a priority for Diabetes UK, the NHS’ rollout of this scheme is a very significant and positive step in the right direction.

“We are proud of our legacy of artificial pancreas research and will continue to support NHS England as the pilot progresses.”

The data collected from the pilot, along with other evidence, will be considered by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as part of a technology assessment. NICE will make a recommendation about wider adoption within the NHS following a review of the evidence.