Scientists from North Carolina State University have developed a new way to deliver medicine to diabetes sufferers. It's an injectable 'smart sponge' that detects blood sugar levels and automatically releases insulin as it's needed.
The sponge is made out of chitosan — that's the same stuff found in shrimp and crab shells. The researchers made a spherical spongy matrix out of the chitosan that surrounds a supply of insulin. A paper on this smart sponge was published in the online journal ACS Nano called “Glucose-Responsive Microgels Integrated with Enzyme Nanocapsules for Closed-Loop Insulin Delivery.”
One of the authors, Dr. Zhen Gu says, “we wanted to mimic the function of health beta-cells, which produce insulin and control its release in a healthy body. But what we’ve found also holds promise for smart drug delivery targeting cancer or other diseases.”