At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University researchers may be fundamentally changing how insulin is delivered to help treat diabetes. Currently most people either use needle injections or insulin pumps, while pancreatic beta cell transplants have not been advanced enough for adoption. Needles are painful and improper injections can lead to hypoglycemia, while pumps are not for everyone and have their own limitations.
The North Carolina team developed a patch that embeds natural beta cells within the tiny polymer needles across its surface. This allows the cells to behave naturally without directly interacting with the body, and so not causing an immune response.
Small sized beta cell patches were tested on small animals with type-1 diabetes, showing that they were able to control spikes in blood sugar levels for up to ten hours.
“This study provides a potential solution for the tough problem of rejection, which has long plagued studies on pancreatic cell transplants for diabetes,” said senior author Zhen Gu, PhD, assistant professor in the joint UNC/NC State department of biomedical engineering, in a statement. “Plus it demonstrates that we can build a bridge between the physiological signals within the body and these therapeutic cells outside the body to keep glucose levels under control.”
Study in Advanced Materials: Microneedles Integrated with Pancreatic Cells and Synthetic Glucose-Signal Amplifiers for Smart Insulin Delivery…