Artificial pancreas project scoops national award 10 June 2022 Advanced kidney disease is one of the most debilitating complications for people living with type 1 diabetes, however a new trial hopes to show that an artificial pancreas can significantly improve health outcomes for people living with both conditions. The trial, led by Professor David O’Neal, Senior Endocrinologist at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, has been awarded the highly sought-after Diabetes Australia Millennium Award – Type 1 Diabetes, to help support the project. This prestigious national award comes with $150,000 funding that will assist Professor O’Neal and his team in progressing this vital research being led by St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. The project is one of the first underway through the University of Melbourne’s new Australian Centre for Accelerating Diabetes Innovations (ACADI), which has affiliated centres located at three major Victorian hospitals including one based at St Vincent’s Hospital’s Fitzroy campus. Diabetes Australia Group CEO Justine Cain said kidney disease was a common diabetes-related complication, and the organisation hoped the technology being explored through this world-first research could provide renewed hope for people living with both conditions. “There are more than 270,000 Australians living with diabetes and kidney disease. Some of them will progress to advanced stages of the disease, and may require dialysis,” Ms Cain said. “The hope is that the artificial pancreas system Professor O’Neal and his team are researching will help people better manage their blood glucose levels while undergoing treatment for kidney disease and that this improves their overall health and quality of life. “Diabetes technology is one of the most exciting areas of diabetes research and we hope this project will help expand the ways it can support people.” Professor David O’Neal said managing glucose levels in people with advanced kidney disease could be challenging. “When a person’s kidney function is impaired it can make it harder to manage glucose levels. On top of this, if they progress to dialysis that can present new challenges. Even the different types of dialysis can have different impacts on blood glucose levels,” Professor O’Neal said. “A Closed Loop system, sometimes referred to as an artificial pancreas, continuously monitors a person’s glucose levels and then provides rapid acting insulin to keep those levels within the target range. “We think this could be the flexible and responsive insulin delivery system that makes it easier for a person to manage their glucose levels and improve their quality of life. “Should this exciting new technology prove to be of benefit in people living with type 1 diabetes and advanced renal disease, the new information generated could then be used to advocate for resources to reduce the burden imposed upon these vulnerable people who have some of the poorest quality of life.” Ms Cain said Diabetes Australia was proud of its role in supporting Australia’s world leading diabetes researchers. “Diabetes Australia is one of the leading funders of diabetes research in Australia and we are committed to helping world-leading researchers like Professor O’Neal and his team at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne to make the breakthroughs that save and transform lives,” she said.