A gel to end Diabetes hassles?

A new injectable gel with nanoparticles detects rising sugar levels in blood and automatically releases insulin

A person with type-1 diabetes is all too familiar with the unpleasant task of having to prick himself. One because they have to test their sugar levels regularly and two because they have to inject themselves with insulin.

That however may change when a particular nanogel engineered by researchers from MIT will be available for use in humans.

Daniel Anderson, an associate professor of chemical engineering at MIT, Zhen Gu, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of North Carolina and others have developed a gel that mimics the pancreas - it detects the sugar levels in the blood and secretes insulin accordingly.

Their system consists of an injectable gel-like structure with a texture similar to toothpaste.The gel contains a mixture of oppositely charged nanoparticles that attract each other, keeping the gel intact and preventing the particles from drifting away once inside the body.

In tests on mice having Type 1 diabetes, the research team discovered that a single injection of the gel maintained normal blood-sugar levels for an average of 10 days. The nanoparticles were bio-compatible and hence do not harm the body.

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