Insulin Patches to Replace Insulin Injections

For patients suffering from type 2 diabetes, taking insulin injections are common especially if their blood sugar spikes constantly or almost regularly. But using a needle every time is quite disturbing and many problems might arise from using a needle, especially if it is not completely new or is being reused. Therefore, at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) researchers are trying to come up with a new compound that can replace the insulin injections.

The compound was first tested on mice to study their behavior under the influence of the biochemical compound. It was seen that this patch of micro needles that can get dissolved interacted with the chemical in the bloodstream and effectively controlled the glucose levels. The biochemical formula in the patch makes use of the gum like, dark green alginate which is extracted from brown algae which is added to exendin 4 and glucose oxidase that stimulate release of insulin.

At a press release the director of NIBIB, Mr. Richard Leapman said that this method utilizes and takes advantage of the fact that a patient with type 2 diabetes can actually produce some insulin for themselves and a micro needle patch once a week would be a more safer and hassle free option which does not involve regular blood testing or any pain during application.

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Once the patient’s glucose levels rise, it reacts with copper phosphate and glucose oxidase and causes a bit of acidity which triggers the patch to release exendin 4 and the insulin production will be initiated. This will then regulate the sugar in the bloodstream till the levels are steady and then the patch will automatically stop the release of exendin.

The invention is definitely a great one as type 2 diabetes is a major issue. But as Xiaoyuan Chen the senior investigator for Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine pointed out the patch does need to evolve more because alginate is not tough enough to penetrate through skin like a needle would and also the patch needs become more compatible to different conditions and daily work if it has to be worn at all times.

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