MEDICAL chiefs have given the green light for the “biggest breakthrough since insulin” for patients with type 1 diabetes.
More than 150,000 people in England and Wales could be eligible for a hybrid closed loop “artificial pancreas” system.
It automatically tracks and controls blood sugar without the need for gut injections, by using a sensor and pump stuck to the skin.
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence recommended on Tuesday that patients be offered the device if they cannot control their glucose levels.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation called it “the biggest treatment breakthrough for type 1 diabetes since the discovery of insulin”.
Karen Addington, CEO of the charity, said: “This makes Great Britain the first country in the world to make hybrid closed loop widely available as England and Wales follow the lead of Scotland, who approved it in 2022.
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“It’s a beautiful algorithm which will save lives and heartbreak.
“It lifts the burden of living with type 1 diabetes, reducing the risk of potentially fatal high and low glucose levels and reduces the likelihood of long-term complications.”
The device has been shown to be better at keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
Traditionally patients have to do finger-prick blood tests or wear a sensor on their arm to track blood sugar, then inject themselves with insulin or eat more to reduce or increase it.
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The pump in a closed loop is linked directly to a skin sensor then calculates how much insulin is needed and delivers the precise amount to the body.
Professor Jonathan Benger, chief medical officer at Nice, said: “Around 10 per cent of the entire NHS budget is spent on diabetes.
"Using hybrid closed loop systems will be a game changer for patients.
“This technology will improve the health and wellbeing of patients, and save the NHS money in the long term.”
Nice will run a consultation on its recommendation until December.
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