‘Smart’ insulin could ease testing burden

Constant monitoring of Blood Glucose Levels (BGLs) could soon be a thing of the past as scientists develop a form of ‘smart’ insulin known as Ins-PBA-F.

The new compound, proven to be effective in mice, turns on when BGLs rise, and off when they return to target levels. This could mean the number of insulin injections needed may be reduced to only one a day or even just one a week, and virtually all the daily mechanics associated with the condition, such as self-monitoring, are eliminated.

Danny Chou, who led the research at the University of Utah, said people living with diabetes wouldn’t have to worry about their BGLs as much. Currently the concern is that too much insulin can drive BGLs so low it leads to hypoglycaemia and potentially be fatal; alternatively, when BGLs are consistently too high it can lead to serious long-term complications including blindness and nerve damage.

“In theory, there would be none of these glucose problems,” Mr Chou said.

Diabetes NSW & ACT Credentialled Diabetes Educator Vania Khoury said the smart insulin looks promising.

“So far, studies show the technology works in mice and  provided human trials are successful, the ‘smart’ insulin would make a profound improvement to people’s lives. Marked improvements in BGLs can mean a sharp reduction in short and long term diabetic complications leading to longer, healthier and happier lives.”

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