Pain-free skin patch responds to blood sugar levels to manage type 2 diabetes

2017

Challenge

For millions of people with type 2 diabetes, ongoing vigilance over the amount of sugar (glucose) in their blood is the key to health. Finger pricks before mealtimes and insulin injections are uncomfortable but necessary routines of these patients’ lives.

Advance

IRP researchers led by Xiaoyuan (Shawn) Chen, Ph.D., devised an innovative biochemical formula of mineralized compounds that interact in the bloodstream to regulate blood sugar for days at a time. In a proof-of-concept study performed with mice, the researchers showed that a biochemically formulated patch of dissolvable microneedles can respond to blood chemistry to manage glucose levels automatically. 

Impact

The success of this microneedle system in a mouse model of type 2 diabetes suggests that, with further development and testing, the device could be used to help manage the blood sugar levels of the tens of millions of Americans with type 2 diabetes.

Publications

Chen W, Tian R, Xu C, Yung BC, Wang G, Liu Y, Ni Q, Zhang F, Zhou Z, Wang J, Niu G, Ma Y, Fu L, Chen X. (2017). Microneedle-array patches loaded with dual mineralized protein/peptide particles for type 2 diabetes therapy. Nat Commun. Nov 24;8(1):1777.