As reported by Medgadget.com, researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may have developed a rudimentary artificial pancreas capable of releasing insulin in response to real-time changes in blood glucose content. Their technique involves attaching a modified form of insulin to glucosamine, a chemical that binds to glucose transporters on red blood cells. Injecting the modified insulin and glucosamine compound results in red blood cells ferrying insulin on their surfaces.
As glucose levels rise, the sugar pushes the glucosamine off the red blood cells to make room for itself. This frees the insulin that’s attached to the glucosamine to attach to insulin receptors within the body, initiating the processes that lower blood glucose concentration.
The lab mice in the study that had Type I diabetes demonstrated an impressive level of control over their blood sugar for more than two days following the injection of the newly developed insulin/glucosamine compound. On the other hand, healthy mice showed a lower preponderance for developing hypoglycemia when injected with the compound. The next steps will involve testing a microneedle injection system for delivering the compound then evaluating its effectiveness in human subjects.
Study in Advanced Materials: Red Blood Cells for Glucose-Responsive Insulin Delivery
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