The world’s first licensed, downloadable artificial pancreas app for people with type 1 diabetes launches today. This important milestone towards full artificial pancreas availability for everyone with the condition is based on over a decade of research by a team of pioneering diabetes researchers, led by Roman Hovorka at the Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science.
The app – CamAPS FX – uses a complex algorithm to work alongside an insulin pump and glucose monitor, delivering insulin automatically to people living with the life-threatening condition that is relentlessly unpredictable, day and night. It is licensed for use by adults including pregnant women and by children aged one and up and is the first artificial pancreas system to be licensed for use in pregnancy or by young children.
Currently, people with type 1 diabetes rely on finger-prick blood tests and insulin injections or infusions but the app – which Professor Hovorka hopes will become available on the NHS in the future – will take over much of the management of the condition. This is particularly important at night, when many people with type 1 diabetes experience potentially dangerous low blood glucose levels. The app also collects data that will allow healthcare professionals to provide more personalised care for users.
Professor Hovorka said:
This is a major stepping stone towards providing widely available, clinically proven, and user friendly artificial pancreas technology to people with type 1 diabetes.
Our aim is to alleviate the ever-present burden of type 1 diabetes and improve health outcomes. This is the outcome of hard work, with more to come. We are indebted to all who are helping us on this journey.
Professor Hovorka’s team will continue to work to bring this technology to all who need it by generating the data needed to support the case for NHS provision. They will work to further refine the technology through research into mealtime glucose control and improving ease of use.
Fiona O’Reilly, who has been using the app as part of a clinical trial, said:
It makes me feel free….I feel less fearful of hypoglycaemia, and less ashamed of the fact that I find achieving good glycaemic control so tricky. And it makes me feel more positive of my future with diabetes…. [I feel] really grateful to be given the chance to try it out.
The app is now available for UK users to download onto Android phones via the Amazon Appstore, on a subscription basis starting at £70 per month.
The research behind the app has been funded by the Juvenille Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Diabetes UK, the National Institute for Health Research, the National Institutes of Health, Horizon 2020, and The Leona M and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust.
Karen Addington, UK Chief Executive of type 1 diabetes research charity JDRF said:
JDRF is proud to have supported Professor Hovorka’s artificial pancreas research from the beginning, nearly 15 years ago. This app is a major innovation and a significant milestone on the road to a fully automated and interoperable artificial pancreas.
At launch the app will be supported by a small number of UK diabetes clinics and will work with a Dana RS pump and a Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor. CamAPS FX is a first step towards artificial pancreas technology that will work with a range of pumps and monitors.