12-25 year olds wanted for hybrid closed-loop trial

Year 11 student Phillip Baker had a very good reason to get involved in diabetes research — learn how to get his blood glucose levels under control or possibly never learn how to drive.

The 16-year-old, from St Marys, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was six, said he had always struggled to manage his blood sugars, which, due to medical restrictions, meant he was unable to apply for his learner’s permit.

“My HBA1c had gone too high (9 percent) in the two months prior to me being old enough to get my learner’s permit so I had to get that under control first,” Phillip said.

“I had to wait until my HBA1c was down.”

Phillip recently completed the six-month Hybrid Closed-Loop Outpatient Trial — the longest and largest at-home trial of a hybrid closed-loop insulin pump system — a device that is a step towards an artificial pancreas.

The randomised control trial, which is still looking for more participants, involves testing an automated insulin delivery system to see if it is better at optimising blood glucose levels than standard therapy.

Participants are randomised — 50/50 split — to use the pump and even though Phillip did not get to use it, he said he would not hesitate to be involved in research again as he found the experience overwhelmingly positive.

“Being involved in research means that my blood glucose levels are watched more closely and I can keep my HbA1c under control,” he said.

“I didn’t really mind when I wasn’t selected to wear the system as I still got a lot out of the trial — being selected would have been an extra bonus.

“I would take part in research again because I’ve come out of the trial with a better understanding of diabetes and how to better manage my blood sugar levels.”

The young people’s Hybrid Closed-Loop Outpatient Trial team is led by Professor Tim Jones, co-director of the Children’s Diabetes Centre at the Telethon Kids Institute in Western Australia and paediatric endocrinologist at Perth Children’s Hospital.

In New South Wales, it is led by Professor Geoff Ambler at Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney and Dr Bruce King at Newcastle at John Hunter Children’s in Newcastle. Other paediatric hospitals involved in the trial include Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne) and the Women and Children’s Hospital (Adelaide).

The Hybrid Closed-Loop Outpatient Trial is funded by the Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network, an innovative clinical research program led by JDRF Australia and funded by a Special Research Initiative through the Australian Research Council.

If you live in Sydney, are aged between 12-25 years and are interested in participating in the trial, please contact julie.klimek@health.nsw.gov.au. If you live in or near Newcastle, please contact jordan.rafferty@newcastle.edu.au for more information.

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