Courtesy of Georgia Institute of Technology
Most patients with insulin-dependent diabetes still control their blood glucose levels with a poke in the finger and a shot in the arm. While that crude but effective procedure is years away from being replaced on a large scale, many are looking to deliver insulin and other drugs in a more foolproof, less invasive manner.
Associate professor Andrew Lyon's lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a thin, self-assembling, layered hydrogel film capable of sequestering and releasing macromolecules.1 The film is impregnated with fluorescently-labeled insulin, and the gel's submicron-sized particles are thermoresponsive. When the film is heated, the volume of the particles abruptly decreases, "forcing the insulin out of the film in a sort of pumping action ... in an episodic fashion," Lyon says.
"Right now it's just a very simple proof-of-concept-type device," says Lyon. "Further elaboration and increasing the complexity...