Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Diabetes? Put That Needle Away

"It has been a Holy Grail, not only to deliver insulin orally, but also other drugs that can [only] be taken by injection," Peppas says. With colleagues he has now developed a pill they hope will make that possible.

The team created a new water-based gel using nanoparticles of two polymers. When formed into particles around 100 nanometres across and combined with water, the polymers form a flexible hydrogel that can soak up insulin.

In lab tests, insulin-loaded gel was subjected to conditions simulating the passage through the stomach and into the gut. It was able to cope with acidic stomach-like conditions for an hour, barely leaking any insulin.

When put into less acidic conditions like those found in the intestines, the the polymer chains changed shape to make the hydrogel swell and release its payload.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-If you're diabetic type I, do you look forward to the day when you will no longer have to jab yourself?
-Does it suprise you that India and China surpass the US in the number of diabetes cases?
-Why do you think that diabetes carries a "less-than-urgent warning", if you will, than say some of the other diseases that affect human life spans?
-Does diabetes run in your family? If so, what are you doing to ensure you do not fall victim to it (given that we are talking about type II)?

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