According to an estimate by World Health Organization, about 350 million people from all over the world suffer from diabetes and most of us know someone who has diabetes. Thus, we all are well aware of the effort that goes into administering insulin injections in order to keep a check on the blood sugar level. The process is painful while also being tricky.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina, USA have created a patch that they are hopeful will be able to replace insulin injections in the future. The patch is about the size of a coin and features plethora of ‘micro-needles’ that are packed with insulin and enzymes that can sense glucose. These enzymes automatically ascertain the glucose levels in the blood and insulin is released without causing any pain whenever deemed necessary.
The co-senior author, Zhen Gu, PhD and a professor in the Joint UNC/NC State Department of Biomedical Engineering said, “We have designed a patch for diabetes that works fast, is easy to use, and is made from nontoxic, biocompatible materials. 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.”
Tests were carried out on mice that suffered from Diabetes Type 1 and the results showed that the 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 says, “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.”