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NICE Approves hybrid closed loop for the majority of people living with type 1 diabetes in England and Wales

In an historic advancement in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) today approves hybrid closed loop for the majority of people living with type 1 diabetes in England and Wales.
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Kate Lawton 19 December 2023

Hybrid closed loop technology

NHS England and Wales are set to roll out implementation over the next five years. The treatment will start to be prescribed early in the New Year.

What is hybrid closed loop?

Hybrid closed loop (HCL), also known as the ‘artificial pancreas’ or automated insulin delivery system, is a treatment at the frontier of health technology, which takes a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and introduces an advanced algorithm to automate the delivery of insulin through a pump.

Not only does HCL make day-to-day life easier, it also enables people with type 1 diabetes to live healthier lives without fear, by reducing the risks of complications including heart failure, loss of limbs, kidney failure and sight loss.

Breaking new ground in medical research

Hilary Nathan, Policy Director  at JDRF said: “Hybrid closed loop technology breaks new ground in medical research and health technology. It’s a beautiful set of algorithms, which will save lives and heartbreak, as well as in the long-term save the NHS the cost of cardiovascular and retinal surgery, kidney dialysis and transplantation.

“It helps lift 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. In type 1 medical research we stand on the shoulders of the Nobel Prize winning giants, Professors Banting and Macleod for their discovery of insulin. Hybrid closed loop defines a new era for medicine”

Transforming lives

Professor Partha Kar, national specialty adviser for diabetes at NHS England, said: “This will transform the lives of the majority of people living with type 1 diabetes in England and Wales. Around 150,000 people living with type 1 diabetes in England alone will have access to HCL over the next five years.

“This tech might sound sci-fi like, but it will have a dramatic impact on the quality of people’s lives, not to mention outcomes – it is as close to the holy grail of fully automated insulin as science can provide at the moment, where people with type 1 diabetes can get on with their lives without worrying about glucose levels or medication.”

JDRF funding

The development of HCL has been driven by JDRF. Over the past 16 years, we have funded over £115 million in international research and clinical trials. JDRF’s advocacy has been instrumental in making this technology available on the NHS in Scotland, Wales and England.

Roll out

The roll out will be phased over five years, with all children and young people, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, and those people who already have an insulin pump to be offered HCL. The technology will also be offered to adults with an average HbA1c reading of 7.5% or more. NICE guidelines recommend people should aim for an HbA1c level of 6.5% or lower. Adults who experience disabling hypoglycaemia will also be offered the technology.

More work needs to be done in gaining access in Northern Ireland to this treatment. However, today’s news will create the momentum and evidence to help secure parity across the four nations.

You can see the full guidance on the NICE website.

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