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Insulin copycat

A researcher hoping to one day take away the need for needles in diabetes care has been recognised at the latest WA Innovator of the Year Awards.

Professor Erik Helmerhorst (pictured right) from Curtin’s School of Biomedical Sciences won the Mitsubishi Start Up category and will receive $50,000 to further develop their drug, which can treat diabetes by being conveniently swallowed at meal times as opposed to injected twice a day.

The insulin mimetic currently under development is a small molecule that mimics the effects of insulin, and is suitable for sufferers of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It is hoped replacing painful injections with a pill will help more diabetics comply with their treatment.

Professor Helmerhorst and his team’s new treatment would be cheaper to manufacture and store, thus cutting down on the estimated $100 billion spent on diabetes medication each year. Its lower cost will also make it more suitable for distribution in third world countries, allowing for better treatment for the hundreds of millions of diabetics around the world.

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