A researcher from Leicester has developed an artificial pancreas which could revolutionise the treatment of diabetes and put a stop to daily injections.
Professor Joan Taylor from De Montfort University (DMU) is developing a device which would be implanted into the body between the lowest rib and the hip and would be topped up with insulin every few weeks.
Joan Taylor, Professor of Pharmaceutics at DMU, said, 'The device will not only remove the need to manually inject insulin, but will also ensure that perfect doses are administrated each and every time. By controlling blood glucose so effectively, we should be able to help reduce related health problems.'
The artificial pancreas is currently undergoing pre-clinical trials and is made of a metal casing containing a supply of insulin which is kept in place by a gel barrier invented and patented by Professor Taylor.
When glucose levels in the body rise, the gel barrier starts to liquefy and lets insulin out. The insulin then feeds into the veins around the gut and then into the vein to the liver, mimicking the normal process for a person with a health pancreas. As the insulin lowers the glucose level in the body, the gel reacts by hardening again and stopping the supply.
This means the right amount of insulin is released automatically every time the body needs it, putting an end to daily injections and the guesswork often involved for people with diabetes when trying to control blood glucose levels with insulin.
Professor Taylor hopes to move onto clinical trials within the next few years. If trials prove successful then the device could be available in five to 10 years.