Synthetic “smart gel” provides glucose-responsive insulin delivery in diabetic mice
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Insulin therapy for diabetes typically involves frequent injections or an electronic pump, both of which require a high degree of maintenance. Now, researchers led by Tokyo Medical and Dental University’s Akiro Matsumoto have developed an implantable device that automatically releases insulin as required, without the need for patient input.
Based on a glucose-sensing ‘smart gel’ contained in a catheter, the device acts as an artificial pancreas that releases insulin in high-glucose settings and retains it when glucose levels return to normal physiological levels. Testing the device in mice, Matusmoto’s team demonstrated its ability to effectively control glucose in scenarios representative of both type-1 and type-2 diabetes and that it retained its function for up to three weeks.
Much cheaper than electronic insulin pumps, the device
could significantly improve quality of life for diabetes patients, especially
those in the developing world, and those who struggle to keep up constant
- Science Advances 3, eaaq0723 (2017). doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aaq0723