Diabetes: Smart insulin patches developed at UNC, NCSU a step closer to market | News & Observer
The Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University was founded in 2003 to bring engineers and medical researchers together to solve pressing healthcare issues. Gu, an associate professor in the department, has been working with his colleagues to remedy the imperfections of current insulin delivery methods.
In the healthy body, insulin secretion always quickly follows the blood sugar levels, says Gu. We want to mimic this process in a scientific way ourselves.
Their solution is a glucose-responsive smart insulin patch that is worn on the skin and instantaneously releases insulin as needed. Roughly the same size as a dime, the patch contains 121 microneedles, each thinner than a human hair and pre-loaded with tiny packets of insulin and glucose oxidase, an enzyme that immediately responds to high glucose levels and sparks a reaction that releases insulin.
If youre a very strict, Type A person who is on an extreme schedule, basically always eats the same thing, has the same activity, and youre really good at math and nutrition, then you might not need this patch. But no one is perfect.
Susan Spratt, associate professor of medicine at Duke University
The on-demand actions of the insulin patches could help people with diabetes worry less about their glucose levels regardless of their activity levels and food intake while also increasing the accuracy of insulin dosing. Not only would the patch prevent high blood glucose, it also would reduce the chance of taking too much insulin, which can result in dangerously low blood glucose lev Continue reading