| research/study

Microneedles: A Patch for Painless and Predictable Diabetes Control?

New Technology May Offer Long-Term Management of Type 2 Diabetes

Results from a proof-of-concept study on mouse models suggest that a biochemically formulated patch of dissolvable microneedles may offer a novel approach to long-term management of type 2 diabetes. If proven in further research and development, the technology could represent a significant advance in the control of this prevalent and debilitating condition that represents some 90% of diabetes cases. Richard Leapman, PhD, scientific director for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging (NIBIB) at the NIH, summarized, “This experimental approach could be a way to take advantage of the fact that persons with type 2 diabetes can still produce some insulin. A weekly microneedle patch application would also be less complicated and painful than routines that require frequent blood testing.” The experimental patch was developed by a team from the Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine at the NIBIB. The findings were published online in the journal Nature Communications.

The new painless patch was developed from a gumlike material called alginate which was infused with biochemical agents that stimulate insulin production when needed and curtail production when blood sugar concentration is normal. Lead researcher Xiaoyuan (Shawn) Chen, PhD, said of the new technology, “Most current approaches involve constant release. Our approach creates a wave of fast release when needed and then slows or even stops the release when the glucose level is stable. That’s why we call it responsive, or smart, release.” Future development as a therapy for human diabetes will require scaling up the size and altering the composition of the patch, Dr. Chen stated.

Read more about the research findings.

The journal article may be read here.

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