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Injectable Nano-Particles Control Blood Sugar for Extended Time

May 16, 2013

Nano-particle network maintains normal blood glucose levels for up to 10 days….

Current standard treatment for patients with type 1 diabetes or advanced type 2 diabetes follows an open-loop insulin delivery system where the patients consistently monitor their blood glucose and make subsequent insulin injections in order to compensate for variable glucose levels. However, researchers from North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Children’s Hospital Boston, have teamed up to shift glycemic control efforts to a closed- loop system. This system is capable of continuously delivery of appropriate amounts of insulin in response to in vivo glucose levels.

The researchers developed a nanoscale particle network that can be injected into the body and release insulin when blood sugar levels rise. In animal-based laboratory tests, one injection of the nano-network was able to maintain euglycemia for up to 10 days.

The injectable nano-network is comprised of a mixture of nano particles with a solid core of insulin, modified dextran, and glucose oxidase enzymes. When high blood glucose levels are detected, the enzymes convert glucose into gluconic acid, which breaks down the modified dextran and releases the insulin. The gluconic acid and dextran are fully biocompatible and able to dissolve in the body.

Within the core of the nanoparticles, either a positively charged coating (made of chitosan, normally found in shrimp shells) or a negatively charged coating (made of alginate, found in seaweed) is implemented. Once mixed together, the coatings are attracted to each other forming a meshwork referred to as the nano-network. When the nano-network is injected into the skin, the nanoparticles are held together and prevented from dispersing throughout the body. The network and coatings are porous and allow blood to reach the nanoparticle cores.

Researchers hope the success of this product will provide a solution to painful injections and difficulty determining accurate dosages of insulin.

Zhen Gu, Alex A. Aimetti, Qun Wang, Tram T. Dang, Yunlong Zhang, Omid Veiseh, Hao Cheng, Robert S. Langer, Daniel G. Anderson. Injectable Nano-Network for Glucose-Mediated Insulin Delivery. ACS Nano, 2013; : 130502161653001 DOI: 10.1021/nn400630x