A plastic sheath that can reverse type 2 diabetes and help sufferers lose weight should be rolled out across the NHS, experts claim.
The Endobarrier, which is a reversible procedure, makes obese patients feel full and helps them shed 2st on average.
The 60cm tube is both a safe and effective treatment, a trial shows. It mimics the work done by gastric bypass surgery but is safer.
It helped cure six patients, stopping them from needing their daily insulin, experts at at Birmingham City Hospital revealed.
The EndoBarrier is a tube made from a Teflon-like material that is inserted into the stomach and the small intestine. It stops food being digested and fools patients into feeling full
The researchers, led by Dr Robert Ryder, said: 'Endobarrier therapy is highly effective in patients with obesity and diabetes that has been very hard to treat.
'The Endobarrier service could be a safe and cost-effective treatment for the NHS.
'It does not involve surgery and patients do not have to stay in hospital, so reducing the risk of infection.'
Dr Ryder and his colleagues have so far implanted the Endobarrier in 50 patients as part of an ongoing NHS trial.
Results for the first 31 patients, who have now had their device removed, show it helped them lose weight and improved their health.
On average, the patients lost 2st 5lb (15kg), had improved blood sugar control, lower blood pressure and less liver fat. They exercised and kept a healthy diet throughout.
Six patients no longer needed to use insulin to control their condition a year after being given the treatment, suggesting it could be a cure.
Of the 17 patients monitored for six months after Endobarrier was removed, 65 per cent have managed to keep up weight loss and improved diabetes control.
The 60cm tube is both a safe and effective treatment, a trial shows. It mimics the work done by gastric bypass surgery but is safer
Patients also said they had more energy, were more able to exercise and had improved wellbeing, the researchers found.
How does the device work?
Endobarrier, which is constructed from a Teflon-like material, is inserted to the small intestine via the throat. It is removed after a year.
Once there, it mimics the effects of gastric bypass surgery - which is seen as the most effective way to lose weight - by blocking food from being digested.
Cutting out the first part of digestion means that people feel full after just a small meal - similar to that of a gastric bypass.
Patients can be fitted with the thin plastic sleeve via their mouth in less than an hour while under anaesthetic.
The US-made device also leads to dramatic improvements in diabetes patients, with previous studies allowing many to stop taking their tablets.
How does it make people feel full?
It is thought that tinkering with the digestion raises levels of a substance called GLP, which helps to regulate the production and processing of insulin.
Insulin, which helps the body to process glucose, stops working properly in patients with diabetes.
Gastric bypasses, like any surgical procedure, can lead to excessive bleeding, clots and, in rare cases, death.
The results were presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting in Lisbon.
A patient fitted with the Endobarrier device has said the treatment changed his life, helping him shed 10in from his waistline.
Harnaik Pharhani said before he joined the study at Birmingham City Hospital his condition was out of control.
The type 2 diabetic said his blood sugar levels had increased, as had his blood pressure and cholesterol. He weighed just over 21 stone.
Since being fitted with the Endobarrier, the 53-year-old has lost three-and-a-half stone and gone from a 54in waist to 44in.
Harnaik Pharhani lost 10 inches from his waistline after using the Endobarrier device
The IT lecturer said: 'I definitely think the treatment needs to be rolled out across the NHS.
'It is a radical and life-changing treatment. I hadn't played any sports for a while because of my weight gain.
'But now I regularly play badminton with 18-year-olds who aren't very happy when I beat them at the game.
'One of my ambitions was to buy clothes at a normal shop instead of going to specialist shops stocking larger sizes. Now I can go along to regular High Street stores and buy clothes off the shelf.'
He added: 'People complain about having a double chin, I had a triple chin and people thought I looked like I was in my 60s.
'Now the weight has fallen off, they say I look 10 years younger than my real age and I don't have a triple or double chin.'
The device was removed after 12 months and he has managed to keep the weight off and his condition under control.