For the first time in the world, at the initiative and under the leadership of specialists in the Jesse Z. and Sara Lea Shaffer Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes, the National Center for Childhood Diabetes at Schneider, an innovative trial project of the MD-Logic Artificial Pancreas (MDLAP) successfully took place in Israel outside the confines of the hospital. The aim of the trial was to provide a real solution to youngsters with diabetes, and utilized an automatic insulin delivery system during the night to illustrate a “normal” life for diabetic youngsters. This is a significant landmark in research.
The project is headed by Prof. Moshe Phillip, Director of the Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes and senior investigator Dr. Revital Nimri, together with engineering team project manager Eran Atlas, leading algorithm engineer Shahar Miller and Ido Muller of the Diabetes Technology Center at Schneider Children’s. This trial is part of the DREAM (The Diabetes wiREless Artificial pancreas consortiuM) project, an international collaborative research consisting of teams from Schneider Children's, the Department of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at Kinderkrankenhaus auf der Bult from Hannover, Germany headed by Prof. Thomas Danne, and Department of Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at University Children's Hospital from Ljubljana, Slovenia headed by Prof. Tadej Battelino.
About 5000 children and adolescents in Israel have been diagnosed with childhood diabetes and thousands more youngsters and adults in the country have other types of diabetes. Diabetes requires constant vigilance concerning nutrition and blood glucose levels and requires that patients with diabetes inject insulin throughout the day in order to compensate impaired function of the pancreas. The MD-Logic system, the technological solution developed at Schneider, represents the “artificial pancreas” comprising of an off-the-shelf subcutaneous glucose sensor that monitors the glucose level and an insulin pump. The sensor and pump are connected to a computer that programs the information and stipulates the amount of insulin that should be released to the body in order to maintain blood glucose balance. This innovation “closes the loop” between the sensor and the pump and relieves patients with diabetes from the daily burden of dealing with their disease with the potential to significantly improve their quality of life.
The artificial pancreas trial outside the hospital was conducted as a prospective cross-over study within the framework of the 3-day DREAM Camp for Children with Diabetes at a hotel near Jerusalem, consisting of 18 children and youth between the ages of 12-15 years. Nine children were connected to the artificial pancreas system on the first night and eight children were connected on the second. Monitoring the night-time glucose levels is extremely important since most cases of severe hypoglycemia occur during the night and blood glucose levels are not within the desired range in many of the patients while they are asleep. The team of engineers and medical staff stayed in the control room set up at the hotel on both nights, from where they were able to supervise the trial by remote control and monitor the glucose levels of the children. Within the framework of the camp, social activities with counselors and the team of the Institute for Endocrinology and Diabetes took place: the children enjoyed the interaction among themselves, swimming in the pool, sports, watching movies and other fun activities.