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New system to mimic pancreas may help diabetics with insulin delivery

IANS Mar 20, 2024

In a potential breakthrough in insulin delivery for people with diabetes, a team of Indian scientists has developed a novel silk-based hydrogel system that mimics the pancreas.

The silk protein was modified to create a super smart system that senses low insulin in the blood and triggers its release.

"The goal was to create a system that mimics the function of the pancreas, an organ responsible for insulin production and release in the body, providing a continuous and controlled supply of insulin in response to elevated glucose levels in the body, to manage diabetes," said Prof T. Govindaraju from the Bioorganic Chemistry Laboratory, New Chemistry Unit at JNCASR, Bengaluru (an autonomous institution under the Department of Science & Technology), in a statement.

The system "can provide a more efficient and responsive method for insulin release, and address the challenges faced by individuals with both Type 1 and advanced stage Type 2 diabetes", he added.

The findings were published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. Initial tests on mice showed the system to be effective in delivering controlled insulin and normalising blood sugar levels.

The researchers next hope to transition to human trials. In addition to drug delivery, the silk-based system can also be used in wound healing, and tissue engineering for various medical conditions, the team said.

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