Researchers create insulin patch to replace injections for diabetes

Researchers create insulin patch to replace injections for diabetes

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It is estimated that about 350 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, according to the World Health Organization. If you are one of these people or know someone who suffers from diabetes, then you know insulin injections to control the blood sugar level is not only painful but it’s quite tricky, but there is now hope that it can soon change.

 [Image courtesy of Zhen Gu, PhD]

Researchers at the University of North Carolina, USA, have developed a patch that replaces insulin injections. The coin-sized patch contains hundreds of “microneedles”, packed with insulin and glucose-sensing enzymes, which automatically detects glucose levels in the blood, and painlessly releases insulin whenever necessary.

“We have designed a patch for diabetes that works fast, is easy to use, and is made from nontoxic, biocompatible materials,” said co-senior author Zhen Gu, PhD, a professor in the Joint UNC/NC State Department of Biomedical Engineering. “The whole system can be personalized to account for a diabetic’s weight and sensitivity to insulin so we could make the smart patch even smarter.”

 [Image courtesy of Zhen Gu, PhD]

Tests were performed in mice with diabetes type 1. The results showed that glucose levels stayed under control for up to nine hours. John Buse, a co-author of the paper and director of the UNC Diabetes Care Center said, “it’s very, very exciting, but very preliminary. It will take years to work out whether this actually will work well in humans. But if it did, it would be amazing.”

Source: The Washington Post