Nanotechnology Offers A Life With Fewer Insulin Injections

Needing fewer insulin injections is a lifestyle change that many diabetics would welcome.

A new technique using nanotechnology to regulate blood sugar levels may make this a reality. It allows insulin to be released painlessly between infrequent injections using a small ultrasound gadget.

Although researchers are not sure why this new insulin-delivery technique works, they do have a plausible theory.

"We’ve done proof-of-concept testing in laboratory mice with type 1 diabetes," said researcher Dr. Zhen Gu. "We found that this technique achieves a quick release of insulin into the bloodstream, and that the nano-networks contain enough insulin to regulate blood glucose levels for up to 10 days."

The Nano-Technique

This insulin-delivery method involves injecting nanoparticles into a person’s skin. The particles are biocompatible and biodegradable. The insulin-carrying particles are made of polylactic-co-glycolic acid (or PLGA for short).

Each nanoparticle is given a porous coating that is either positively or negatively charged. The positively charged coating is from a material found in the shells of shrimp. The negatively charged coating is a substance found in seaweed. When injected into the subcutaneous skin layer, the oppositely charged particles are attracted to each other electrostatically, forming a "nano-network."

Once a network is under the skin, insulin begins diffusing from the porous particles. The diffused insulin is held in place by the electrostatic force of the nano-network, creating an insulin reservoir ready to be released into the bloodstream. To release the insulin, the nano-particled person sends ultrasound waves to their nano-network from a handheld ultrasound device.

The Plausible Theory

The researchers think that ultrasound waves activate tiny gas bubbles in the body's tissue. This temporarily disbands the nano-network, pushing the particles apart and weakening the electrostatic force. The insulin is then free to flow into the bloodstream.

When the ultrasound waves are discontinued, the electrostatic force reengages and pulls the charged particles back together. More insulin is diffused from the particles into the network reservoir, ready to be released.

"We know this technique works, and we think this is how it works, but we are still trying to determine the precise details," says researcher Dr. Yun Jing.

Life with Fewer Injections

Using this nano-technology, individuals with type 1 or advanced type 2 diabetes will need to inject a new nano-network under their skin about every 10 days. The previous network dissolves within a few weeks and is completely absorbed by the body. Although only lab mice can benefit from the technology now, researchers are working to make this insulin delivery method practical for people.

Just for fun, if you are interested in an early vision of nano-technology, check out the 1966 movie called "Fantastic Voyage." The plot was implausible even back then, but not the nano-idea behind it.

Sources: Science Daily, NC State

Get Free Diabetic Supplies

For a limited time only, you can reduce diabetic supplies costs by more than 90%. Enrolling just take a few minutes. Fill out the form, speak to a representative and get diabetic supplies delivered to your door at little or no cost. Also, you will get a free Diabetes Meal Plan from a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator.

Enter your information below to see if you qualify.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Matcha tea is a rich, creamy, full-bodied beverage with amazing nutritional properties that address several diabetes health concerns. The trace...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

It would be interesting to know how many people with diabetes actually use blood glucose control solutions to regularly check the accuracy of...

A mood is an internal state or condition of feeling. It colors everything else we experience, much like colored sunglasses add a tint to...

More Articles

It would be interesting to know how many people with diabetes actually use blood glucose control solutions to regularly check the accuracy of...

Any sweetener you use to replace table sugar is a sugar substitute. One type of sugar substitute is artificial sweetener. Three other types...

Matcha tea is a rich, creamy, full-bodied beverage with amazing nutritional properties that address several diabetes health concerns. The trace...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

Diabetes is a health condition that disrupts the body’s normal production of insulin. Currently, more than one million Americans are diagnosed...

The HbA1c blood test, more commonly known as the A1C, is both a very useful and a very cool calculation of your average blood glucose levels over...

A mood is an internal state or condition of feeling. It colors everything else we experience, much like colored sunglasses add a tint to...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Oil pulling therapy derives from Ayurveda, a holistic healing system developed thousands of years ago in India. Ayurvedic medicine maintains that...

You may think beer, wine, and liquor would be categorized as food, but in reality, alcohol is a drug. Just like medications, alcohol has powerful...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

A diabetes meal plan is a guide indicating what types of foods, and how much of them, people should eat at meal and snack time. Following a meal...

Fluid retention, also known as edema, is a problem that affects many diabetics, especially those with type 2 diabetes...

This article was written exclusively for Information About Diabetes by Sarah Havemann, a 21-year-old type 1 diabetic who developed the disease...

Because it is Peripheral Neuropathy Awareness Week (May 7-13), this article is about a device people with neuropathy may not be aware of—a device...