A new treatment for diabetes has been developed and tested in animal studies that promises to revolutionize how people suffering from the disease are able to monitor and control their blood sugar.
Researchers at North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Children’s Hospital Boston have developed a treatment that involves injecting nano particles in the bloodstream than are capable of both monitoring blood sugar and dispensing insulin as needed for up to 10 days at a time, according to North Carolina State News.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a person with diabetes, whether it is type 1 or type 2, has too much glucose or blood sugar in the blood due, in most cases, to a deficiency of insulin. Symptoms include:
“Unexplained weight loss
“Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough insulin)
“High blood pressure
“Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal or bladder infections.”
Diabetes can cause a variety of complications as well, including many that are severe. They include cardiovascular disease, damage to the nerves, kidneys, eyes, and feet, cancer, skin conditions, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s.
A person suffering from diabetes must often draw blood periodically to monitor their blood sugar and then inject themselves with insulin as needed. This involves a great deal of inconvenience and risk of a wrong dosage causing diabetic shock or other reactions.
The nano particle treatment, which has worked on mice, involves the creation of nano particles, half positively charged, half negatively charged, that have a core of insulin, modified dextran and glucose oxidase enzymes. The charges hold the particles together to form a network within the body.
The enzymes, when exposed to high glucose levels, convert the glucose to gluconin acid which in turn breaks down the dextran, releasing the insulin and bringing the glucose levels under control.
If and when the treatment is approved for human use, the quality of life of most diabetics will improve tremendously. Instead of the constant monitoring and injections, all a person suffering from diabetes will have to do is to administer an injection every ten days or so. The nano particle network practically acts as a pancreas.
The researchers are as of this writing in discussions on how to bring their new treatment to human trials.