England’s NHS will provide artificial pancreas to thousands of diabetes patients

England’s National Health Service (NHS) he said on tuesday “tens of thousands of children and adults” with type 1 diabetes will receive an “artificial pancreas” to manage their insulin levels. A hybrid closed-loop system—a sensor under the skin that sends wireless readings to an externally worn pump that delivers insulin when needed—could help patients avoid the risks of type 1 diabetes without the worry of finger sticks or injections.

This is not the first device of its type. Tandem does followed by similar insulin pumps in the US got it FDA approval in 2019. Gizmodo notes It acquired another company called iLet FDA approval for a similar device last year. While it doesn’t say what specific device(s) the NHS program will use, what’s different here is that the country provides a publicly funded healthcare system for free, rather than as an exclusive privilege for the wealthy. (Heavy.)

The hybrid closed-loop system starts with a sensor implanted under the skin, which regularly monitors glucose levels continuously. The sensor sends that information wirelessly to an externally worn pump, which delivers the appropriate insulin dose. The “hybrid” part of the name comes from the fact that some user input, including the input of carbohydrate intake, is still required in an otherwise self-regulating system.

The government agency gave a very specific figure of 269,095 people living with type 1 diabetes in England, highlighting how many people could potentially benefit from the app. The NHS said local departments would start identifying patients for the program from Tuesday.

“Diabetes is a difficult and relentless condition, but these systems are making a significant, life-changing difference – improving both the overall health and quality of life of people with diabetes,” Diabetes UK chief executive Colette Marshall wrote in an NHS press release. release announcing its release. “This is a really significant moment and we will work with the NHS and others to ensure a fair broadcast reaches people as quickly as possible.”

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