smart insulin patch could replace painful injections for diabetes
Actually, patients with diabetes can keep their blood sugar levels in check thanks to the Smart Insulin Patch
Diabetes Doctors and specialists have worked closely together with biomedical engineers to give birth to a smart insulin patch that could replace painful injection for diabetes. The Chinese Professor PhD Zhen Gu reported a revolutionary process.
Before Talking about the smart insulin patch, let us shed light on Zhen Gu's person and life in a short paragraph.
Who is Zhen Gu ?
The Prof. Gu Zhen. Ph. D
Prof. Zhen Gu got his PhD Degree from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Under the guidance of Prof. Yi Tang, in 2010.
Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC-CH and NCSU, UNC Eshelman Pharmacy School.
Pharmacoengineering Program (Ph P)
Under the guidance of Prof Yon Chen at the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
He was a postdoctoral associate while working with the Prof. Robert Langer at MIT and Harvard Medical School during the period 2010 - 2012
He also gained BS Degree in Chemistry and an MS Degree in Polymer Science and Engineering from Nanjing University in China (NUC).
The MIT Technology Review listed Prof Zhen gu as one the top innovators under 35 (TR35) in 2015.
He is a young innovator of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering of BMES in 2015 and the Sigma Xi Young Faculty Award for research in 2014.
He is the recipient of the Sloan Research Fellowship in 2016 as well as the Pathaway Award for the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in 2015.
Read more about Prof Zhen Gu Download his CV
Let us get back to our Amazing Topic that is related to the Smart Insulin Patch.
How does the Smart Insulin Patch work ?
The smart insulin patch could be put or placed anywhere on the skin of body to detect if there are increases in blood sugar and after that it can secrete doses of insulin automatically whenever it is needed. (according to Prof Zhen Gu, PhD).
Prof. Zhen Gu has announced a potential farewell to the painful insulin injections and considered it to be a thing that belongs to the past. A chance for the millions of Americans suffering from diabetes and victims to insulin injection to use and benefit from the smart insulin patch.
As an insulin injection alternative, researches from the University of North Carolina NCU created and invented the so called Smart Insulin Patch SIP that has the ability of detecting big amounts of sugar or an increase in sugar level. The smart insulin patch can secret doses of insulin into the bloodstream at every need.
Equipped with tiny needles at the size of eyelashes, the smart insulin patch has microneedles which are packed with storage units for insulin and glucose-sensing enzymes. Every time blood sugar gets high, insulin is released.
According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a study was published about the smart insulin patch that is considered to be painless and could lower the blood glucose for type 1 diabetes for up to 9 hours.
Smart Insulin Patch Trials
Actually, after its announcement, more pre-clinical tests and subsequent clinical trials will be needed before releasing the patch to patients. Fortunately, the approach shows great promise.
“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.
Prof Zhen Gu said also that “The whole system can be personalized to account for a diabetic’s weight and sensitivity to insulin,” he added, “so we could make the smart patch even smarter.”
Diabetes Statistics worldwide
Diabetes affects more than 387 million people worldwide, and that number is expected to grow to 592 million by the year 2035. Patients with type 1 and advanced type 2 diabetes try to keep their blood sugar levels under control with regular finger pricks and repeated insulin shots, a process that is painful and imprecise. John Buse, MD, PhD, co-senior author of the PNAS paper and the director of the UNC Diabetes Care Center, said, “Injecting the wrong amount of medication can lead to significant complications like blindness and limb amputations, or even more disastrous consequences such as diabetic comas and death.”
Researchers have tried to remove the potential for human error by creating “closed-loop systems” that directly connect the devices that track blood sugar and administer insulin. However, these approaches involve mechanical sensors and pumps, with needle-tipped catheters that have to be stuck under the skin and replaced every few days.
An up-close fluorescent image of the microneedle patch with insulin tagged in green. (Courtesy of Zhen Gu, PhD)
Instead of inventing another completely manmade system, Gu and his colleagues chose to emulate the body’s natural insulin generators known as beta cells. These versatile cells act both as factories and warehouses, making and storing insulin in tiny sacs called vesicles. They also behave like alarm call centers, sensing increases in blood sugar levels and signaling the release of insulin into the bloodstream.
“We constructed artificial vesicles to perform these same functions by using two materials that could easily be found in nature,” said PNAS first author Jiching Yu, a PhD student in Gu’s lab.
The first material was hyaluronic acid or HA, a natural substance that is an ingredient of many cosmetics. The second was 2-nitroimidazole or NI, an organic compound commonly used in diagnostics. The researchers connected the two to create a new molecule, with one end that was water-loving or hydrophilic and one that was water-fearing or hydrophobic. A mixture of these molecules self-assembled into a vesicle, much like the coalescing of oil droplets in water, with the hydrophobic ends pointing inward and the hydrophilic ends pointing outward.
More information about Smart Insulin Patch
The result was millions of bubble-like structures, each 100 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Into each of these vesicles, the researchers inserted a core of solid insulin and enzymes specially designed to sense glucose.
In lab experiments, when blood sugar levels increased, the excess glucose crowded into the artificial vesicles. The enzymes then converted the glucose into gluconic acid, consuming oxygen all the while. The resulting lack of oxygen or “hypoxia” made the hydrophobic NI molecules turn hydrophilic, causing the vesicles to rapidly fall apart and send insulin into the bloodstream.
Once the researchers designed these “intelligent insulin nanoparticles,” they had to figure out a way to administer them to patients with diabetes. Rather than rely on the large needles or catheters that had beleaguered previous approaches, they decided to incorporate these balls of sugar-sensing, insulin-releasing material into an array of tiny needles
A scanning electronic microscopy image of the smart insulin patch. (Courtesy of Zhen Gu, PhD)
Gu created these “microneedles” using the same hyaluronic acid that was a chief ingredient of the nanoparticles, only in a more rigid form so the tiny needles were stiff enough to pierce the skin. They arranged more than one hundred of these microneedles on a thin silicon strip to create what looks like a tiny, painless version of a bed of nails. When this patch was placed onto the skin, the microneedles penetrated the surface, tapping into the blood flowing through the capillaries just below.
The researchers tested the ability of this approach to control blood sugar levels in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes. They gave one set of mice a standard injection of insulin and measured the blood glucose levels, which dropped down to normal but then they quickly climbed back into the hyperglycemic range. In contrast, when the researchers treated another set of mice with the microneedle patch, they saw that blood glucose levels were brought under control within thirty minutes and stayed that way for several hours.
In addition, the researchers found that they could tune the patch to alter blood glucose levels only within a certain range by varying the dose of enzyme contained within each of the microneedles. They also found that the patch did not pose the hazards that insulin injections do. Injections can send blood sugar plummeting to dangerously low levels when administered too frequently.
“The hard part of diabetes care is not the insulin shots, or the blood sugar checks, or the diet but the fact that you have to do them all several times a day every day for the rest of your life, said Buse, the director of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute and past president of the American Diabetes Association. “If we can get these patches to work in people, it will be a game changer.”
Because mice are less sensitive to insulin than humans, the researchers think that the blood sugar-stabilizing effects of the patch could last even longer when given to actual patients. Their eventual goal, Gu said, is to develop a smart insulin patch that patients would only have to change every few days.
The research was funded by a pilot grant from the NC TraCS Institute and a “Pathway to Stop Diabetes” Research Award from the American Diabetes Association.
What I loved about the smart insulin patch : painless, and smart automatic. that means no worry any more about the dose to take
So What are you waiting for to get the Smart Insulin Patch !
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