If you are a diabetic or are living with one, you would know that synthetic insulin and blood glucose meters are extremely important to ensure that life goes on as normal as possible. Despite such tools, however, diabetics tend to experience abnormal blood sugar levels simply because it is near impossible to monitor glucose levels continuously and to inject insulin in real-time with the right amount of precision. Wearable glucose meters and insulin pumps are being worked upon as a solution, but even that is not a foolproof method. In a collaboration that involves the North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MIT, and Boston Children’s Hospital, this effort involves working on a new material which is capable of encapsulating insulin and releasing it as and when required.
It is made out of chitosan, a substance that is commonly found in the shells of crustaceans, and thanks to some chemistry “magic”, the material can expand whenever there are high concentrations of glucose, so that insulin can flow out to counteract against the sugar rush, pronto! Needless to say, this sponge-like material will contract and stop the insulin outflow as it detects one’s glucose levels return to normal. Could this be the magic bullet for diabetics? Let us keep our fingers crossed that the answer is a resounding aye!