Biochemists at the University of Utah have developed 'smart insulin' known as Ins-PBA-F that self-activates when blood sugar soars. This experimental product acts for 14 hours and has shown promising results in mice studies. After more long-term safety tests in lab animals, it could be tested in people with type 1 diabetes in two to five years.
People with type 1 diabetes have to constantly monitor their blood sugar level and manually inject themselves with insulin when needed. Any mistake or lapse in this regime can lead to complications, including heart disease, blindness or even death. Ins-PBA-F is a chemically modified version of a naturally occurring hormone, and differs from other 'smart insulin' products in development that use a protein-based barrier, such as a gel or coating, that inhibits insulin when blood sugar is low.
The study said, "Tests on mice with a form of type 1 diabetes showed that one injection could repeatedly and automatically lower blood sugar levels after mice are given amounts of sugar comparable to what they would consume at mealtime. The drug closely mimicked the way the bodies of normal mice would return their blood sugar levels to normal after eating."
The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.