More accurate and less painful wayto monitor blood sugar, 29 million Americans dealing with diabetes are one step closer to this reality.
At the UNC-N.C. State Biomedical Engineering Program, Dr. Zhen Gu’s team has been extending the attempt to produce smart insulin patches for dealing with diabetes. Couple of years ago, he also co-founded a company named Zenomics Inc., which is based in Research Triangle Park with the plan of rendering his registered diabetes intervention to patients around the globe. Now, a Chinese company, MicroPort Scientific hasinvested USD 5.8 million in his company to aidin fulfilling its goal.
Balancing and measuring blood glucose levels with insulin shots that hurt and finger pricks are a constant worry for diabetes patients. Each day, they have to track theiractivity and diet, aligning blood glucose level with specificallymeasured doses of insulin down the way. Even though insulin delivery by pumpor injection has turnedinto a routine and efficientmanagement for advanced Type II diabetesandType I, neither option iscomfortableor convenient particularly.
There is one more issue, which is timing; blood sugar levels are frequently too high till the time insulin is rendered. Even the most superior methods that use pumps attached with constant glucose monitors may lag behind existent glucose levels by 5 to 15 minutes.
To bring medical researchersandengineers togetherto resolvecritical healthcare issues, the combined Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University was established in the year 2003. Dr. Gu is an associate professor in the department and has been working with his team to repair the drawbacks of existing insulin delivery techniques.
Dr. Zhen Gu said that in a healthy human body, insulin emissionconstantly and promptly follows the glucose level in the blood, they want to imitatethat same process in a technological way.
Their resolution is a blood sugar-responsive smart insulin patch which can be worn on the skin and immediatelydelivers insulin as required. About the same size as a coin bag, the patch comprises 121 micro-needles, each one thinner than a human hair strand and already loaded with small packets of glucose oxidizeand insulin, a protein that instantaneouslyrespond to elevated glucose levels and activates a reaction that discharges insulin.
The insulin patches can help diabetes patients to worry less regarding their blood sugar levels despite of theirfood intakeand activity levels while also escalating the accurateness of insulin administering. The patch would not only prevent high blood glucose, but also trim down the possibility of having too much insulin that can result in severely low blood sugar levels.
Until now, the patch has revealedto be efficient at managing blood sugar in diabetic rats. According to Gu,in the future, some people mightrequireonly1 patch a day, but that will differ depending on the individual needs of patient and is aphase they have sustained to improveever since the patch was first discovered in 2015.
With his company, Guhas strategy to progress the advancement of the insulin patch, and the funding from MicroPort Scientific, which particularizes in biomedical equipments, is avital part of hisstrategy.
Dr. Gu stated that MicroPort Scientific ispretty interested in their smart insulin patch.
Primarily, the investment will help outZenomics Inc. to recruit workforce in its laboratories, where Gu’sregistered technology will shortly be trialed on animals like mini-pigs. The rest of the funding will pay for pre-clinical research studies that makescertain that there are no unpleasantirritations orreactionsinduced in humans by means of the smart insulin patch material. If both of these issues get cleared successfully, medical trials could initiate enrolling people in coming years.
Based on recent trends, researchersanticipated that there would beabout 592 million diabeticpatients around the world by the end of 2035. Although there is hope that one day there will be a cure, for the time beingGu is confident that smart insulin patches will lead diabetes managementfurther.
He said that it is extremelypleasing to develop some innovative and novel technologies to increase the strength, quality of life and health of diabetes patients.