Diabetes artificial pancreas tech recommended for thousands on NHS

The Artificial Pancreas

More than 100,000 people in England and Wales with type 1 diabetes could soon be offered new technology to manage their condition on the NHS.

The system uses a glucose sensor under the skin to automatically calculate how much insulin is delivered via a pump.

Health assessors said it was the best way of controlling diabetes, barring a cure.

A charity said it would transform lives and was the “closest thing to a working pancreas”.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the health body recommending the technology, said a more cost-effective price still had to be agreed upon with manufacturers.

In trials, it improved the quality of life and reduced the risk of long-term health complications.

Approximately 400,000 people are currently living with type 1 diabetes in the UK, including around 29,000 children.

Their pancreas produces no, or very little, insulin – an important hormone which helps turn food into energy.

So they have to closely monitor levels of sugar, or glucose, in the blood and top up levels of insulin every day of their lives using injections or an insulin pump.

This new technology does that automatically, virtually mimicking the function of a pancreas – although it still requires information on food intake to work accurately.

“This technology has been proven to give the best control for managing type 1 diabetes and should make things like amputations, blindness, and kidney problems possibly a thing of the past,” said Prof Partha Kar, national speciality adviser for diabetes at NHS England.

“The quality of life this technology gives to those using it is huge,” he added.