One of the greatest fears among many people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) is insulin therapy-associated hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Marked by symptoms such as trembling, sweating, confusion and dizziness, the condition can lead to seizures or a coma, and even death.
Dr. Xiao Yu (Shirley) Wu, a JDRF-funded investigator at the University of Toronto, is developing a glucose-responsive, microneedle patch for the delivery of therapeutic hormones to prevent hypoglycemia in T1D patients.
Applied to the skin during sleep, exercise or when performing full-attention tasks such as driving, the patch will sense when blood glucose levels are below the normal concentration and then automatically release the counter regulatory hormone, glucagon, for better glucose control.
Hypoglycemia is one of the most serious acute complications associated with insulin therapy. In their latest paper in Advanced Materials , Dr. Wu and her team show how the microneedle patch has the ability to minimize the risk of hypoglycemic episodes and death among people living with T1D, and alleviate the psychological burden of hypoglycemia anxiety, thereby improving quality of life. At the same time, it is also convenient, painless and potentially inexpensive.
“With the generous support from JDRF, our team will continue advancing the development of the glucose-responsive glucagon patch, aiming at clinical trials in the near future,” says Dr. Wu.
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