A collaboration between scientists at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences has developed a novel skin patch that delivers insulin in response to high levels of measured glucose. The technology, if proven to work successfully in humans, may have a transformative effect on diabetes management.
The patch has a bunch of microneedles that are sensitive to glucose, breaking up when a high concentration of the sugar is detected. The needles are hollow and each contains a small dose of insulin that is released when the needles degrade.
The needles are made from a peroxide-reacting polymer that is loaded with glucose oxidase. When the glucose oxidase reacts with glucose, H2O2 is produced and the needles disintegrate and release their cargo of insulin.
The patch was trialed on lab mice who underwent spikes in glucose levels. The patch successfully controlled those and reduced the blood glucose levels to normal within two hours of a glucose spike.