In a new study, researchers have developed a new type of insulin that could prevent a common side effect in people who use the drug to manage diabetes.
The side effect is hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
The research was conducted by a team from UCLA and their colleagues.
Insulin is a hormone naturally produced in the pancreas. It helps the body regulate blood sugar.
Blood sugar is consumed through food and provides the body with energy.
Diabetes happens when a person’s body does not naturally produce insulin (Type 1 diabetes), or does not efficiently use the insulin that is produced (Type 2).
To treat the disease, a regular dosage of insulin is required to manage the disease.
Generally, people who need to use insulin have to monitor their blood sugar levels with a glucose meter or continuous glucose monitoring system.
In addition, regular carbohydrate intake is important to keep the blood sugar levels normal.
But these treatments could be subject to human error, which may have devastating consequences.
Previous research has shown that an overdose of insulin can lead to hypoglycemia. That could lead to seizures, coma, and in extreme cases, death.
To solve the problem, in the study, the team has developed a type of “smart” insulin called i-insulin. It can prevent blood sugar levels from dipping too low.
They added an additional molecule called a glucose transporter inhibitor to insulin to create the new smart insulin.
According to the team, the new i-insulin works like a ‘smart’ key.
The insulin lets glucose get into the cell, but the added inhibitor molecule prevents too much from going in when blood sugar is normal.
This keeps blood sugar at normal levels and reduces the risk of hypoglycemia.
The team tested the smart insulin on mice with Type 1 diabetes. The i-insulin controlled glucose levels within the normal range for up to 10 hours after the first injection.
A second injection three hours later extended the protection from hypoglycemia.
The team suggests that the new insulin has the potential to be optimized for response times and how long it could last in the body before another dose would be required.
And it could be delivered in other methods, such as a skin patch that automatically monitors blood sugar levels, or in pills.
Now the new insulin is being evaluated for potential clinical trials. If successful, it could change diabetes care.
The leader of the study is Zhen Gu, a professor of bioengineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering.
The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Copyright © 2019 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.