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The Making of Medicine

Artificial Pancreas Benefits Ages 2-72, Analysis Finds

An artificial pancreas we developed significantly improves blood sugar control for people with type 1 diabetes young and old(er) alike, a  new meta-analysis shows.

Across three different trials, participants using the artificial pancreas developed at our Center for Diabetes Technology spent an average of 2.8 more hours per day in their target blood sugar range compared with participants who used traditional methods to manage their blood sugar.

The analysis was based on results from 369 participants ages 2 to 72 at eight sites across the country, including here at UVA Health. Of the trial participants, 256 used the artificial pancreas, which is now manufactured by Tandem Diabetes Care and sold as the Control-IQ system. The device combines an insulin pump with advanced control algorithms, developed here at UVA, to adjust the person’s insulin dose as needed. 

Among the artificial pancreas users, benefits were seen both day and night but particularly at night. And the benefits kicked in quickly: Trial participants spent significantly more time within their target blood sugar range within the first day they used the system.

“All subgroups in these studies, regardless of age, ethnicity, education or previous pump experience, benefitted from Control-IQ technology,” said our Boris Kovatchev, PhD, director of the Center for Diabetes Technology. “It is clear from these results, which are consistent with real-life data from thousands of current Control-IQ technology users, that this technology should be strongly considered as an option for anyone living with type 1 diabetes.”

The federal Food and Drug Administration has approved the system for people ages 6 and older with type 1 diabetes. 

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