An implantable device could enable injection-free control of diabetes
Eliminating the need for injections
For patients with Type 1 diabetes, managing blood glucose levels often requires frequent insulin injections. However, this method does not replicate the body’s natural ability to control blood sugar. The implantable device developed by MIT engineers offers a promising alternative.
The device contains insulin-producing islet cells that can detect surges in blood glucose levels and release insulin accordingly. This mimics the function of a healthy pancreas and allows for more precise control of blood sugar levels.
Overcoming the limitations of current treatments
Patients who have received transplanted islet cells from human cadavers or stem cells have achieved long-term control of diabetes. However, these treatments require the use of immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection of the transplanted cells.
The implantable device offers a solution to this issue by encapsulating the transplanted cells within a flexible device. This protective barrier shields the cells from the immune system, eliminating the need for immunosuppressive drugs.
A potential breakthrough for diabetes treatment
The implantable device developed by MIT researchers shows great promise in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes. By combining insulin-producing islet cells with an on-board oxygen factory, the device can provide a continuous supply of insulin without the need for injections.
In tests on diabetic mice, the device successfully maintained stable blood glucose levels for at least a month. The researchers are now working towards creating a smaller version of the device for testing in humans.
If successful, this technology could revolutionize diabetes treatment and improve the quality of life for millions of patients. Additionally, the device’s design could potentially be adapted to treat other diseases that require repeated delivery of therapeutic proteins.
The research team, led by MIT Research Scientist Siddharth Krishnan, has published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
When all is said and done, this breakthrough in diabetes treatment offers hope for a future where injection-free control of diabetes is possible, providing patients with a more convenient and effective way to manage their condition.