Diabetics have one more reason to imagine a future without injections: they have created patches that automatically control the level of insulin.
Researchers and scientists have spent years studying different ways to make life easier for diabetics, either by releasing them from punctures to control blood sugar levels or, as in this case, creating patches that will make it possible to forget insulin injections.
It is a synthetic patch that would be placed on the skin and that would automatically provide the necessary amount of insulin for the patient. Without worrying about anything else, or having to monitor anything else during the day.
Insulin patches to forget the injections
The idea is not new, it is more, it is the evolution of the patch that we saw last year, but in this version there is a big change. At that time the patch included synthetic insulin, while now the synthetic coating of the patch itself has integrated natural beta cells, which are responsible for producing insulin in the body itself.
Therefore, in the case of real beta cells, they are able to manage blood sugar levels in a more exact way, for a longer time and without risk of exceeding the dose or not reaching it. In addition, since the beta cells are kept outside the body, attached to the skin, there would be no possibility of rejection by the immune system.
In people with diabetes, the beta cells that release insulin in the body are damaged or are not able to produce enough to keep blood sugar levels under control, which is why injections are required. These patches “connect” with a microneedle the size of a tab – that neither bother nor are damaged – and are introduced into the capillaries to create the union between the beta cells of the patch and the bloodstream of the patient.
Totally controlled and precise insulin doses
At the moment, these patches have been tested in laboratory mice with type 1 diabetes and tests have shown that they are able to normalize blood sugar levels for 10 hours in a row, without having any control over them.
Moreover, the secretion of insulin is so controlled by the patch that they even tried to put more than one in a mouse and found that one does not “act” until the other is exhausted, and therefore the treatment is lengthened double hours without danger.
There is still a lot of research until we see a commercial product for humans, but it would be a huge advance not only in comfort for diabetics, but also in safety, as they would completely forget to make sure if they have injected little or too much insulin. All the details of the research are published in Advanced Materials.