A patient at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) has just become the first child in the UK, and the fifth in the world, to be fitted with a second generation DiaPort System, adapted to deliver insulin directly into the abdomen, bypassing the skin.
Taylor Banks was referred to GOSH in 2015, aged seven, after hospitals in charge of his care ran out of options in treating the combination of his type 1 diabetes and severe skin allergy to insulin.
Taylor was first diagnosed with diabetes aged two. He was rushed to hospital unconscious and treated with insulin. The insulin treated the symptoms of his diabetes, but on receiving the treatment he had a severe allergic reaction to the drug.
Mum Gema said,
“Straight after taking the injections he would go into a trance-like state, he was like a zombie, unable to communicate and function. We switched Taylor to an insulin pump hoping it would help, but then he started breaking out with painful red welts all over his body. It was so upsetting because nothing we were trying to do was helping to take the pain away. These welts eventually turned into permanent areas of abnormally sunken skin, into which no insulin could be given.”
Taylor’s symptoms worsened, until he was in constant pain, sleep deprived with areas of abnormally sunken skin increasing over his body. His parents were worried about his erratic sugar levels and had to check on him every two hours through the night to make sure he didn’t slip into unconsciousness.
Clinicians conducted further testing and discovered Taylor’s allergy was only skin deep, and soon after was referred to GOSH.
Dr Rakesh Amin, Consultant in Endicrinology at GOSH said, “Taylor’s quality of life was so poor and his prognosis so bleak that, to not find a solution to this allergy was not an option. “
The endocrine team explored all medical options including various immunotherapies, none of which worked. But in 2017 Dr Amin identified the second generation DiaPort System, designed with added safety mechanisms to greatly reduce, infection risk as a potential option to treat Taylor’s condition.
In a UK first, this second generation DiaPort, which is surgically placed on the skin, connects an insulin pump device to the abdominal cavity, so the drug bypasses Taylor’s skin completely. Taylor was successfully fitted with the device last month.
Dad Scott says:
“It’s still early days but we’ve already noticed the changes. Most importantly Taylor’s blood sugar levels are significantly lower and much more balanced.
“He isn’t in any pain, he hasn’t had any reaction in his skin and he’s sleeping better. For the first time Taylor identified on his own when he was having a hypo, which is just brilliant.
“This progression means everything to us. We’re so grateful to Dr Amin and GOSH and to all of the nurses and doctors who have helped Taylor. I just hope now that this will help him to have a chance at being a normal little boy, back in school and playing with his friends.
“He’s missed out on so much because he’s been so ill for so long, I hope this DiaPort will help Taylor get his childhood back.”
For further information please contact the GOSH-ICH Press Office on 020 7239 3039.
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Notes to Editors
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust is the country’s leading centre for treating sick children, with the widest range of specialists under one roof.
With the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, we are the largest centre for paediatric research outside the US and play a key role in training children’s health specialists for the future.
The DiaPort, produced by Roche, is a solution specifically for people with insulin allergies, severe insulin resistance, or other conditions which prevent insulin from being properly absorbed via injections or insulin pumps. With the DiaPort, insulin is injected further into the body, to near the liver. This helps speed up the insulin’s capacity to regulate blood glucose levels as there’s no delay where the insulin would usually pass through the fat and into the blood stream.
The Diaport, although a life-saving treatment option for some, can also pose a dangerous risk of infection, as the DiaPort is fitted on the outside of the body. The 2nd generation DiaPort has been designed with added safety mechanisms to greatly reduce infection risk as a potential option to treat Taylor’s condition.
What is type 1 diabetes?
According to the JDRF: ·
- The UK ranks the fifth highest in the world for the rate of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys beta cells in the pancreas, which produce insulin.
- Why this happens is not yet known.
- People with type 1 diabetes rely on multiple insulin injections or pump infusions every day just to stay alive.
- Type 1 diabetes affects about 400,000 people in the UK, 29,000 of them children.
- A child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five faces up to 19,000 injections and 50,000 finger prick blood tests by the time they are 18.
- Incidence is increasing by about four per cent each year, particularly in children under five, with a five percent increase each year in this age group over the last 20 years.
Learn more about the signs and symptoms of diabetes - on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) website.
Jude Sutton, from the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, said:
“Taylor, like all living with type 1 diabetes, is showing extraordinary bravery in dealing with what is a tough condition.
“His allergy to insulin makes life even tougher but we hope this positive news provides Taylor and his family with some much-deserved respite.”
Source: JDRF website