Artificial Pancreas Hybrid Closed-loop Systems: Easing Diabetes' Burden

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The concept of an artificial pancreas hybrid closed-loop system is to give diabetic patients a break, Eda Cengiz, MD, MHS, FAAP, said.

The associate professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine spoke on the benefits of one such system — the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved MiniMed 670G closed loop system — at the American Diabetes Association 77th Scientific Sessions in San Diego.

It's a relief of burden both on diabetic patients, and the doctors uable to adjust insulin dosage every night, Cengiz said.

"A lot of people worry about low blood sugars in the middle of the night, but if you have a system adjusting insulin and checking glucose patterns every 5 minutes, that’s amazing," Cengiz said. "That’s how you can achieve almost perfect control overnight and you don’t have to worry about it, you can sleep through the night."

It's a supplementally beneificial system for pediatric patients and their parents, Cengiz said, allowing a small window of additional freedom to relax and gain more sleep at night.

However, the MiniMed 670G's range is limited to about 20-30% of all patients, and despite efforts, a significant improvement in that range is currently not possible, Cengiz said.

"But with these systems, there’s a great opportunity," Cengiz said. "If you have 70% or 80% of your patients in poor glycemic control, that translates into future complications.​"

Endocrinologists cannot wait for a cure to diabetes while treating patients, but the closed-loop system is a short-term benefit.

"In the meantime, we have to keep our patients happy, healthy, and from a clinician perspective I think artificial pancreas hybrid closed-loop systems can achieve better glycemic control and also reduce complications of future diabetes if we can keep improving blood sugar control," Cengiz said. "Our patients will be healthy until we discover the cure for diabetes, so we’re hoping that those are going to be some outcomes of hybrid closed-loop once it’s implemented widely in the clinical field."

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