For those of you with diabetes who go through the pain of insulin injections, take a sigh of relief! No poke: a smart patch is in the ring now.
Scientists have finally developed a pain-free skin patch. Most importantly this patch contains compounds that respond to blood chemistry and regulate blood sugar in a diabetes patient. Thus, eliminating the need for painful daily injections and needle pricks.
The pain caused by insulin injections is probably the biggest nightmare of those diagnosed with diabetes. Well, these injections are going to be a thing of past.
The research carried out by the University of NC State and North Carolina led to this amazing invention “No Poke“, which is putting an end to the rather painful insulin injections.
How Does Insulin Work?
Insulin injections are used to control blood sugar in people who have type 1 diabetes and people who have type 2 diabetes that cannot be controlled with oral medications. Know more about type 1 and type 2 here.
Insulin injections work by moving sugar from the blood to other places in the body. Thereby, it can be used for energy production. It also stops additional production of sugar in the body.
How NO POKE Ends The Need For Insulin Injections?
Many diabetes patients refuse to take insulin injections. It may be because of their fear of needles and because they do not want to deal with the pain caused by them. This recent concept can genuinely save their lives.
No poke can be seen as a smart patch. This little thing will detect even a small increase in the level of blood sugar in a diabetes patient. Further, it will secrete a dose of insulin into their bloodstream in the relevant amount.
Now you might be thinking about how this ends the pain? Well, this amazing little device has hundreds of tiny needles in its internal surface. These needles, only the size of an eyelash are called microneedles. They have extremely small, say microscopic units for storage of insulin and glucose sensing enzymes. They become active when blood sugar levels get high.
No poke first experimented on mice subjects who had type 1 diabetes. As a result, it was able to lower their blood sugar levels in nine hours. This is definitely going to be a noteworthy invention for diabetics.
How This Smart Patch Works?
In the study conducted, the scientists did not focus on developing an entirely new device. Instead, they tried to use the body’s natural ability of insulin generation known as beta cells. These cells are like factories that make insulin in small sacs which are called vesicles.
Consequently, the researchers came up with an idea to build artificial vesicles that perform the same functions.
The results were really productive as they came up with a million of small bubble-like structures, even smaller than a human hair. They placed a core of insulin into these artificial vesicles in addition to some special enzymes. These enzymes detect even a small change in blood sugar levels.
When the blood sugar levels increase, the extra glucose begins to flood the artificial vesicles. The special enzymes detect the increase in the level of glucose. Consequently, converting it into gluconic acid. This process consumes oxygen. The lack of oxygen causes a hypoxia state which makes the molecules turn hydrophilic. Due to this, the vesicles start falling apart rapidly and then they send insulin to the bloodstream.
How It Minimizes The Risks Involved In Injections?
The process of injecting insulin has to be perfect. If not, it causes a hell of pain. Insulin injections come up with a lot of complications. In addition, injecting the incorrect amount of insulin can lead to loss of eyesight or even death. Also, the injection site is also a major concern for a diabetic. No poke eliminates all these risks making the life of a diabetes patient as easier as it can be.