New developments from Duke University biomedical engineers may help diabetics with an inventive method for drug delivery known as a “drug jelly.”
The jelly-like end product gives the patient less undesirable side effects, like nausea and fatigue, than other forms of insulin. Injecting insulin in its pure form causes fluctuations in blood sugar levels because it is quickly consumed by the body. Therefore, patients must take frequent doses of insulin daily.
Unlike pure insulin, the drug jelly creates a more steady release of insulin into the bloodstream, allowing the patient to inject the drug less frequently and dramatically reducing fluctuating blood sugar levels dramatically. By decreasing the number of times patients must inject insulin, the new drug is more convenient than traditional methods and may cause patients to feel more comfortable with taking insulin.
Though there have been many previous efforts aimed toward controlling levels of insulin, the drug jelly is the most effective method. The polymers that make up jelly slow the consumption of insulin. The drug’s “instructions” for release can also be synthesized using hormones. This complex structure allows maximum control over the release of insulin over time.
The benefit of these new protein drugs isn’t limited to diabetes. Patients with cancer and other diseases may also benefit from jelly-based medicines.