Life with diabetes can be hard on multiple levels: daily challenges with managing blood sugars, weekly trips to the pharmacy for refills, and worry about which foods will send your blood sugar skyrocketing. You’ll have different meal times, constant adjustments to your insulin dosage, and frequent doctor’s visits.
Moreover, insulin treatments can represent an issue for many patients. The good news is that this process might become more simple in the future thanks to a team of researchers that have decided to improve the structure of insulin. They changed insulin’s structure so that it would interact with simple carbohydrates and turn on only when blood sugar levels are high.
The experiments carried by the researchers revealed that it is possible to “activate” the insulin molecule in the presence of sugar molecules. “The promise of this kind of ‘smart’ insulin is that it would transform diabetes care, so people wouldn’t have to worry anymore,” explained Michael Weiss, the leader of the scientists’ team.
This is not the first time experiments attempt to create automated insulin. Last year another experiment revealed that insulin could be automated in rats, showing promise for future treatments for human patients.
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune illness that attacks the beta cells in the pancreas. Without active medication, however, it can be difficult for sufferers to tell whether or not they have the disease. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications and ultimately lead to complete recovery.
“The reason a glucose-responsive insulin is important is that the biggest barrier to the effective use of insulin, especially in type 1 diabetes, is the fear of the consequences of blood sugar going too low,” concluded Weiss. Hopefully, in the near future, smart insulin can become an alternative for those who suffer from Type 1 Diabetes.