In 2015, 12 year old Daniel was one of a handful of youngsters who took part in clinical trials to test an artificial pancreas. Under the care of Dr. Roman Hovorka and his team of at The University of Cambridge, Daniel used this pioneering technology over three months and saw first-hand the difference it could make. Daniel and his mum, Susan, discuss why they’re looking forward to the day an artificial pancreas is available for everyone with type 1.
When I first heard about the artificial pancreas trial, I was very excited to be taking part in research that would change type 1 history. I also was interested in the technology and whether my HbA1c would improve during it.
When I started the trial, the equipment was well described and the research team were very friendly and chatty. They explained things well. Martin and Janet are very nice and are doing a good job at helping people with type 1. Martin is the best doctor at taking blood from me. It doesn’t hurt so much when he does it.
After I woke up on the first day of the trial, I was less tired than I had been the morning before, because I hadn’t been woken up in the night due to low / high blood glucose levels. If my blood levels are low I need to have sugar to bring my blood down to a safe level. This is not nice when you are asleep. If my blood levels go high, I need insulin. Sometimes, I have to be woken up several times in the night and then I am very tired when it’s time to go to school.
The trial helped me at school because it meant that I was less tired and could concentrate more on my studies. I’m so glad I could take part in it and I really hope I can have an artificial pancreas of my own one day. That would be amazing!
What my mum thinks
I was pleased Daniel wanted to take part in the trial but very anxious the first night he used the artificial pancreas. I had to rely on the machine to keep him alive. I monitored it very closely for the first few days. It was performing amazingly well and I saw I could totally trust it.
Daniel and the whole family could sleep through the night for the first time in years. Normally we would constantly be checking him and giving insulin when he needed it. I didn’t have to make important decisions about how much insulin to give him when I was very tired, which took so much anxiety away.
It transformed our lives and Daniel’s energy levels went up enormously. The research team was fantastic too, offering us all the support and reassurance we needed. They came to the house to check everything was well and almost felt like part of the family during the trial.
It will be so wonderful when Daniel can have his own artificial pancreas all the time.