Illustration of male pancreas anatomy

Four year old Xavier Hames from Perth, Australia has become the first patient with diabetes to receive an artificial pancreas as a part of routine care.

Whilst artificial pancreases have been worn for limited periods of time as part of human clinical trials, this is the first time a patient has received an artificial pancreas that will be the boy’s normal routine treatment from now on.

The artificial pancreas combines an insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitoring sensor and the operation of the pump is regulated by an algorithm that can predict if hypoglycemia is likely to occur. If a hypo is likely to occur, the insulin pump stops delivering insulin.

The system has been developed and tested by Professor Tim Jones and his team at Perth’s Princess Margaret Hospital. The availability of the artificial pancreas is the result of years of research to test the safety and effectiveness of the system.

Artificial pancreas solves a number of common problems

Xavier’s family are thrilled that Xavier has received the artificial pancreas system stating that this will help remove a number of the problems typically associated with children such as the difficulty in managing what a child eats, or how much activity they do, at children’s parties, which can result in either too high or too low sugar levels.

Xavier’s mom, Naomi, also pointed that it will allow her, as well as Xavier, to enjoy a much more normal life during the night: “It also allows us to have better control overnight; if you’re up every hour overnight then maybe you’ve got a good indication [of blood sugar levels] but no parent wants to be up every hour, I can guarantee that.”

The artificial pancreas system will be available commercially in Australia from 10,000 Australian Dollars, which is the equivalent of around 8,000 US Dollars and 10,000 Canadian Dollars.