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Artificial pancreas brings hope

Scientists have developed an artificial pancreas to regulate blood sugar in children with type 1 diabetes.

Cambridge University researchers created the device that uses a sensor to measure glucose levels and pump the correct dose of insulin into the body overnight.

It is hoped the work will help to significantly cut the risk of overnight hypoglycaemia among youngsters. The study was published in medical journal The Lancet.

The system calculates the right amount of insulin to deliver based on real-time glucose readings from the body - comparing it to the performance of the regular pump.

Results showed that the new device held blood glucose levels in the normal range for 60% of the time. This was compared with the regular pump's 40%.

The device also halved the time that blood glucose levels fell below 3.9mmol/l - the level considered as mild hypoglycaemia.

Study leader Dr Roman Hovorka said: "Our results show that commercially-available devices, when coupled with the algorithm we developed, can improve glucose control in children and significantly reduce the risk of hypos overnight."

The research studied 17 children and teenagers with type 1 diabetes overnight.

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