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Kids With Diabetes Hit Slopes To Test Artificial Pancreas System

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) - Children with diabetes are hitting the slopes at Breckenridge as part of a groundbreaking clinical trial to help make life easier for diabetes patients.

Aidan Frei, 12, is among 16 children, ages 10-17, testing an artificial pancreas system in a clinical trial run by the Barbara Davis Center. The trial will continue for five days and include children who already have skiing/snowboarding experience.

(credit: CBS)

"I don't have to stop at every chairlift and test my blood anymore, so it does it for me," said Frei.

The high tech device consists of an insulin pump, continuous glucose monitors and an experimental algorithm that communicates via cell phone. It will increase insulin doses when sensor glucose levels fall. The automated system is designed to better control glucose levels than the manual programming and testing people with type 1 diabetes must do daily.

(credit: CBS)

"Mostly it has a pump and a telephone working together," said Frei.

A team of researchers and doctors monitor the glucose levels from a command post in the cafeteria and follow the kids on laptop computers that track the data sent back.

The new system being tested on the slopes could change the way those with diabetes monitor and medicate their disease.

CBS4's Matt Kroschel interviews Aidan Frei (credit: CBS)

"We are doing behind the scenes are testing some innovative technologies that ultimately are going to benefit all people with type 1 diabetes to make their life a little bit more about living and less about thinking about their diabetes all the time," said project manager Laurel Messer, RN, MPH.

The clinical trial run by the Barbara Davis Center, has been largely funded by the Children's Diabetes Foundation, the CU Foundation and private donors.

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