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‘Smart patch’ could help patients manage blood glucose levels

Researchers in the US have developed and tested ‘smart insulin patch’ technology on mice with a chemically induced form of diabetes. The patches were in silicone molds, and had many tiny micro-needles on one surface, to project into the skin. The needles contain even smaller packets, called glucose responsive vesicles (GRVs). These GRVs contain insulin, bursting and releasing this insulin into the skin when a high concentration of glucose is detected.

In the tests on mice, researchers found that blood glucose levels returned to normal after about 30 minutes of wearing the patch and then gradually increased after about 4 hours, as the action of the insulin wore off. When the mice were injected with glucose, the mice with the patches also showed better glucose tolerance than those without the patches.

Dr Richard Elliott, Research Communications Manager at Diabetes UK, said “This research involved mice and is still at an early stage, so further studies and clinical trials in humans will be needed to find out if this promising new approach might help to simplify existing techniques for managing blood glucose – which we know can be a painful daily chore for millions of people with diabetes. We will continue to follow progress in this area with interest.”

Source:Yu, J. et al, Microneedle-array patches loaded with hypoxia-sensitive vesicles provide fast glucose-responsive insulin delivery.

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