Sufferers of type 1 diabetes not only have to deal with the problem of injecting themselves multiple times each day, but they also have to make sure the dosage is accurate to avoid potential health risks. Thankfully, a new solution could be at hand in the form of nanoparticles that can detect when blood sugar levels rise and release insulin accordingly.
The injectable nanoparticles contain a solid core of insulin protected by an outer layer of modified dextran (often used to reduce blood thickness). When exposed to high levels of glucose the enzymes within the nano-network convert glucose to gluconic acid, which in turn breaks down the dextran, finally releasing the insulin into the bloodstream.
All of the particles within the mixture are positively and negatively charged, meaning they are attracted to each other – this is how the nano-network is held together within the body.
The technology, which was developed by researchers at NC State, UNC Chapel Hill, MIT and Children’s Hospital Boston has been successful during animal testing and is under discussion for clinical trials.