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Diabetes : a single injection of nano-insulin for 10 days’ peace of mind
This invention from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with injectable nanoparticles could one day spare patients with type 1 diabetes from monitoring their blood sugar levels and injecting insulin. This development, which was presented in the journal ACS Nano, could maintain a normal blood sugar level for 10 days through a single injection.
Because these nanoparticles are able to detect blood glucose levels and react in real time secreting the necessary quantity of insulin, thereby compensating for the deficient pancreatic islet cells in patients with type 1 diabetes. The blood sugar level is thus kept “under control” and the patients’ quality of life is improved, making them more serene. At present these patients are obliged to prick themselves several times a day to control their blood sugar levels. In case of hyperglycemia/high blood glucose, patients inject (themselves with) insulin which metabolizes excess sugar.
An injectable nanogel which responds to variations in glucose levels
The MIT team created a solid biocompatible system which reacts quickly to changes in blood sugar levels and is easy to administer. “Thanks to extended release mode, the quantity/amount of insulin (which is) secreted corresponds to the needs of the organism” explains Daniel Anderson, associate professor of chemical engineering at MIT. So it is an insulin delivery system which behaves a bit like an artificial pancreas, automatically detecting glucose levels and secreting insulin as needed. The injectable gel looks a bit like toothpaste and contains a mixture of oppositely charged nanoparticles which attract each other maintaining the gel intact and preventing the particles from drifting away once inside the body. Each nanoparticle contains spheres of dextran, which is a modified polysaccharide charged with an enzyme which transforms glucose into gluconic acid. When the blood sugar levels are high the enzyme produces large quantities of gluconic acid and makes the local environment a little/slightly more acidic, causing the dextran spheres to disintegrate and release insulin.
Just one injection for 10 days of glycemia/blood sugar control
In mice with type 1 diabetes, the researchers show that a single injection of nanogel could maintain blood sugar at normal levels for/over a period of 10 days. The scientists/The team/They are now trying to optimize the particles so that they can react even more quickly to variations in blood glucose levels. They still have to test the particles on humans, using the right dosage.