December 4, 2013

Sea Level Perspective on Injecting Insulin


seaweedThe idea of an ultrasound is not the first thing you’d think of when it comes to treating diabetes with insulin. In fact, the first thing in your mind is likely needles. According to new research published in Advanced Healthcare Materials, the nanoparticle ultrasound delivery system may prove be a painless delivery system for extended-release insulin.

Chapel Hill  is known for the Tar Heels and astute students that win the collegiate praise but the new achievement may be a new method for delivering insulin to diabetes patients.

The method uses an ultrasound delivery system that slowly releases insulin through a nanotechnology over a few days, rather than multiple daily injections. The insulin must be initially injected into the body, but once it’s there, it lasts for a few days.

The magic involves electrostatic forces, shrimp, and seaweed. It’s a lot more complex but in so many words, it’s as natural as the ebb and flow of the ocean. The positively charged shrimp exterior, known as chitosan, and the negatively charged seaweed allows for a equal. containment of insulin particles in the body.

The sea creation only stores the nanoparticle insulin until an ultrasound device is used to release the active insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. The hand-held device is applied to the site of the nano-network, painlessly releasing the insulin into the bloodstream.

The whole nanoparticle, device, insulin network isn’t just a one trick pony. After the ultrasound device releases the insulin particles from the internal pod of sea creations, those that were not used will reassemble in the starting position for next ultrasound treatment.

“We’ve done proof-of-concept testing in laboratory mice with type 1 diabetes,” Gu says. “We found that this technique achieves a quick release of insulin into the bloodstream, and that the nano-networks contain enough insulin to regulate blood glucose levels for up to 10 days.”

“When the insulin runs out, you have to inject a new nano-network,” says Jin Di, lead author of the paper and a Ph.D. student in Gu’s research lab. “The previous nano-network is dissolved and fully absorbed into the body in a few weeks.”

Considering this may be an option that reduces the multiple daily inconvenience to a once every ten day refill, the North Carolina lab may be on to something great. Considering the population dealing with the minor/major constraints of injecting insulin, this concept may be well-received from sea to shining sea.

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