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Scientists to Develop 'Smart' Insulin Capsule to Combat Diabetes

Jan 05, 2017 09:23 AM EST
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Scientists have just launched an ambitious project which, if successful, may mean that patients with type one diabetes will have insulin delivered automatically.

People with type one diabetes currently have to undergo prick tests several times a day to monitor their blood sugar, only injecting them with insulin when it gets too high.

Sadly, this chore can be time-consuming and invasive and for children. It means they may not be able to attend parties, sleepovers and camps where parents have to monitor their condition.

Now British scientists from the University of Birmingham are developing smart capsules which would travel through the body and release insulin when they came across high levels of blood sugar.

According to the Telegraph, the Birmingham team has already discovered molecules which bind to glucose from which they plan to build a shell that contains insulin but melts away in the presence of sugar.

John Fossey, a senior lecturer in the school of chemistry at Birmingham, is currently leading the project. He said this can be a great deal, just imagining that patients could go through a week without having to worry about their blood sugar levels or even injecting themselves. 

He said parents shared a desire to want their children to attend sleepovers and other things, but they aren't confident enough to entrust injections to other adults.

According to the Telegraph, Fossey's proposal is to take the same chemistry that can recognize glucose in the body and build a container for insulin that can break open when it comes across glucose. 

Around 400,000 people in Britain have type one diabetes, or nearly 30,000 are children. The scientists are confident the capsule may be ready for animal trials within five years, and for humans soon.

This may give people the freedom to live their lives without constantly monitoring their condition. 

It can be remembered that people from the University of North Carolina have also developed a smart patch that monitors glucose levels and delivers insulin automatically via micro-needles. This happens by sticking to the skin like the plaster and can detect even slight changes in blood sugar levels. 

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