A TEENAGE diabetic has told how an 'artificial pancreas' supplied as part of a medical trial has helped change the way he manages his condition.

The pioneering technology allows Banbury and Bicester College student Jack Newman to control his body's insulin levels through a mobile phone app connected to a pump.

Now, on World Diabetes Day, Mr Newman who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a year ago, is hoping to encourage others to take part in such trials to help improve treatments for diabetics.

The 17-year-old received the life-changing diagnosis after being rushed to the John Radcliffe Hospital in March 2017.

He said: "All I remember was being at home and then waking up in a hospital bed.

"It was a very scary experience, but it’s all a bit blurry and I don’t remember too much of it.

“I was ill for about two weeks before and getting worse and worse.

"I was being sick all the time, I couldn’t eat or drink anything and I lost around two stone in weight.

“It got to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed and it was progressively getting scarier and scarier and worse and worse, to the point that I had to call an ambulance.”

Mr Newman, then aged 16, spent two days in an inpatients unit at Headington Hospital.

He said: “I didn’t really feel much at first, but after a couple of days I realised that this was a permanent thing and it did put me in a depressive state for a couple of months because I got told I had this illness I’d have to deal with for the rest of my life.”

People with type 1 diabetes lose the ability to produce insulin, which controls the amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood, causing their levels to become too high.

This can cause serious long-term health problems such as blindness, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

A month later Researchers contacted Mr Newman's mother to ask if he would take part in a new trial with most having to use an insulin pen to inject insulin in to the body to manage blood sugar levels.

Mr Newman, from Banbury, said: “I wanted to take part right away. The main thing that persuaded me was that I wouldn’t have to use an insulin pen anymore.”

In the “Closed Loop from Onset in Type 1 Diabetes” (CLOuD) study, an insulin pump is connected via bluetooth to a continuous glucose monitor and a mobile phone app.

This is known as an artificial pancreas because the app adjusts the amount of insulin delivered by the pump according to the glucose levels present, as the pancreas does in those without diabetes.

Researchers want to find out if an artificial pancreas is more effective at preserving the body’s insulin producing cells in the pancreas than multiple daily injections with an insulin pen in those newly diagnosed.

Insulin pumps on their own are available through the NHS for those with type 1 diabetes, however these alone cannot accurately release insulin according to the body’s needs.

Children and young people recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 10 to 16 are being invited to take part in the study, which is open until 2019.

Participants will be randomly allocated to receive insulin injections or an artificial pancreas for two years, to compare the two.

Mr Newman, who was allocated the artificial pancreas, said: “The first couple of times injecting I was off about it, because it was stabbing myself with a needle and I wasn’t used to it. It’s like pricking your finger, it will hurt for a second and then it will be fine.

“The pump’s easier to use, it’s more convenient.

"If I need insulin, I don’t need to find my pen. It’s made the adjustment from not having diabetes to having it so much easier. It’s made my whole treatment for diabetes so much less stressful.

“It has helped my blood sugar a lot since I’ve been on the trial. The data from before I was on it until afterwards, shows before I was on it my blood sugars were higher."

Paediatric Diabetologist, Dr Rachel Besser, who leads the study at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We hope that this technology will control blood sugars better and preserve the function of the pancreas in children with type 1 diabetes.

"In the longer-term that should reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications, such as eye disease, kidney disease and early death from heart disease.”

For information about the study visit cloud.mrl.ims.cam.ac.uk or call 01865 231674.