Around 105,000 people struggling with type 1 diabetes could benefit from artificial pancreas technology.
People who are struggling to manage their type 1 diabetes could be offered an artificial pancreas to help control their condition with little input. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published draft guidance recommending the use of hybrid closed-loop systems for managing blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetes – a technology that has been described as a step towards an artificial pancreas.
Type 1 diabetes causes the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood to become too high. This occurs when your body cannot produce enough of a hormone called insulin, which controls blood glucose. Common symptoms include feeling very thirsty, feeling very tired, blurred vision and cuts that are not healing.
Continuous glucose monitoring for type 1 diabetes patients
The hybrid closed-loop system comprises of a continuous glucose monitor sensor attached to the body. The ‘artificial pancreas’ transmit data to a body-worn insulin pump and it runs a mathematical calculation to see how much insulin is needed to keep blood glucose levels within a healthy range.
Mark Chapman, interim director of Medical Technology at NICE, said: “Some people living with type 1 diabetes struggle to manage their condition, even though they are doing everything asked of them by their diabetes team. This technology is the best intervention to help them control their diabetes, barring a cure.
“At a time when the number of people with diabetes is rising, we have to focus on what matters most to people who use NHS services by balancing recommending the best care with value for money.
“Our committee has reviewed the real-world data generated by the NHS and evidence generated by randomised controlled trials which show there are clear benefits of recommending the technology’s use. We look forward to working with NHS England and industry to ensure a cost-effective price can be reached which is fair to taxpayers.”
NICE recommends the “artificial pancreas” technology
Following real-world data, NICE has recommended people who are unable to control their condition despite using an insulin pump, or real-time or intermittently scanned continuous glucose monitoring, are offered artificial pancreas technology if their long-term average blood glucose levels indicate they are at risk of long-term complications. This is categorised as an HbA1c reading of 8% or more when the NICE guideline recommends a reading of 6.5% or lower.
The change in guidance means that around 105,000 people in England and Wales could be offered the technology. It is important that before this technology is offered, it needs to be at a cost-effective price as currently, it is too expensive.
Professor Partha Kar OBE, national speciality advisor for diabetes at NHS England, said: “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.
“We have seen fantastic results from the real-world trials which have taken place and thank you to NICE for their review of the evidence and subsequent conclusions. The quality of life this technology gives to those using it is huge.
“We look forward to working with industry colleagues to help ensure this technology can be made available to those who need it.”