New semi-automated insulin device being tested

For those that suffer from diabetes, a new electronic pancreas device may be a godsend.

The prototype for the gadget which is used for treating Type 1 diabetes has been tested on 17 children in Cambridge and electronically monitors blood sugar levels so that the perfect amount of insulin can be injected into the blood.

At the moment the new gadget requires a nurse in order for the insulin device to be programmed, but it does raise the question of if an automated device can be used in the future to control diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common childhood diseases that carries with it long term problems and the number of children that will be affected by the disease is expected to continue to rise, after doubling over the last ten years.

Those that are affected by Type 1 diabetes have an immune system that attacks the cells in the pancreas responsible for making insulin.  When the body does not have insulin it cannot regulate sugar levels within the blood which leads to serious health problems.

Type 1 diabetes brings with a lifetime of insulin injections and at the moment the only alternative to taking injections is an insulin pump which releases insulin into the body slowly and continuously throughout the day.

They are about the size of a mobile phone and can be used with approval from the NHS on people that have problems controlling diabetes with regular injections.