World’s First ‘Smart’ Diabetes Treatment in the Works
I have family members with diabetes. It seems like most of us do. Thankfully, they are all managing quite well, one of them uses an insulin pump and the other relies on daily injections. I know you get used to things, but it sure seems like a lot to deal with, especially for a child, between the testing and the insulin, she seems to be getting “stuck” a whole lot, and for someone that doesn’t like shots… I always wonder when someone will come up with a better way.
It seems like there are some promises on the horizon, but none that have yet come to fruition, like the glucose monitoring tattoo and contact lenses, but this time we might have a winner, researchers at North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Children’s Hospital in Boston, have developed a network of nanoscale particles ( size measurable in nanometers or microns) that can be injected into the body and release insulin when blood-sugar levels rise that will actually let you maintain normal blood sugar levels for more than a week.
These new, injectable nanoparticles contain insulin, with a coating of modified dextran and glucose oxidase enzymes. It begins to work when these enzymes encounter high blood sugar which changes the glucose to an acid which etches the modified dextran and releases the insulin. The insulin then brings the glucose levels under control.
Unfortunately the particles are not quite ready for widespread human studies, but if we actually get there, it could dramatically improve quality of life issues for the millions of folks around the world living with diabetes. For more information, or to follow research as it continues, check out the newsroom at ncsu.edu.