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...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?