Up against a load of bull

In­sulin ‘smart patch’ could help di­a­betes pa­tients

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

An ex­per­i­men­tal patch that could au­to­mat­i­cally de­liver doses of in­sulin to pa­tients with di­a­betes has been suc­cess­fully tested in lab an­i­mals, re­searchers said Mon­day.

If tri­als in peo­ple are shown to work, the patch could of­fer a less painful al­ter­na­tive for peo­ple who must oth­er­wise use nee­dles to in­ject them­selves with in­sulin.

Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of North Carolina and North Carolina State de­scribed the prod­uct as “the first smart in­sulin patch that can de­tect in­creases in blood sugar lev­els and se­crete doses of in­sulin into the blood­stream when­ever needed.”

The patch it­self is about the size of a penny and con­tains more than 100 tiny nee­dles, each about as big as an eyelash, ac­cord­ing to the study in the Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tional Academy of Sciences.

Each mi­cronee­dle con­tains “mi­cro­scopic stor­age units for in­sulin and glu­cose-sens­ing en­zymes that rapidly re­lease their cargo when blood sugar lev­els get too high,” said the study.

In mice with di­a­betes, those treated with the mi­cronee­dle patch saw their blood glu­cose lev­els brought un­der con­trol within 30 min­utes, and stayed that way for sev­eral hours.

Mice that were in­jected with in­sulin saw blood sugar lev­els re­turn to nor­mal, but they re­quired another shot sooner than the patch-wear­ing lab an­i­mals.

“If we can get these patches to work in peo­ple, it will be a gamechanger,” said John Buse, cose­nior au­thor and di­rec­tor of the UNC Di­a­betes Care Cen­ter.

Di­a­betes af­fects more than 387 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide.


Bull­fighter Luis Gerpe pre­pares his sword to kill a fight­ing bull dur­ing a bull­fight at Las Ven­tas bullring in Madrid, Spain, Sun­day, June 21. Bull­fight­ing is a tra­di­tional spec­ta­cle in Spain and the sea­son runs from March to Oc­to­ber.

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