Insulin Board

Whilst insulin has been around as a treatment for type 1 diabetes for nearly a century, people with the condition are still needing to make decisions with each dose to ensure blood sugar levels stay on track.

A new insulin delivery approach, involving glucose-responsive nanocapsules, has received an important funding boost after researcher Dr. Zhen Gu, of North Carolina State University, received a $1.625 million grant from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

The grant will support the development of the nanocapsules over the next five to seven years. The nanocapsules are held in an injectable microgel. Once inside the body, the nanocapsules can release insulin in a glucose level dependent way, that is when glucose levels are high, the gel breaks down and insulin is released.

Grant will help capitalise on early success

So far, Gu has been able to test the insulin delivery system within mice with type 1 diabetes and found success in the reduction of blood glucose levels in the mice treated with the nanocapsules.

Whilst there has been early success, Gu points out a number of challenges which may still lie ahead: “One of the main challenges with the research is creating a system that is not only compatible with humans, but also easy to administer while also making sure that the system does not excessively release the insulin, which will cause hypoglycemia inside the body.”

The next step in the research is to test the insulin delivery system within larger animals and the grant from the ADA will not only makes this possible but will also allow Gu’s team to develop several different formulations of the gel to find the best performing version.