Saturday, April 16, 2016
Controlling Diabetes with a Patch
The new “smart cell patch” developed at UNC and NC State is a proof of principle to treat millions of people with type 1 and advanced type 2 diabetes.
For decades, researchers have tried to duplicate the function of beta cells, the tiny insulin-producing entities that don’t work properly in patients with diabetes. Insulin injections provide painful and often imperfect substitutes. Transplants of normal beta cells carry the risk of rejection or side effects from immunosuppressive therapies.
Now, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University have devised another option: a synthetic patch filled with natural beta cells that can secrete doses of insulin to control blood sugar levels on demand with no risk of inducing hypoglycemia.
The proof of concept builds on an innovative technology, the “smart insulin patch,” reported last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Both patches are thin polymeric squares about the size of a quarter and covered in tiny needles, like a miniature bed of nails. But whereas the former approach filled these needles with manmade bubbles of insulin, this new “smart cell patch” integrates the needles with live beta cells.
Source & further reading:http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2016/march/scientists-create-painless-patch-of-insulin-producing-beta-cells-to-control-diabetes
The smart insulin patch could be placed anywhere on the body to detect increases in blood sugar and then secrete doses of insulin when needed.