Diabetes Research Continues

Other groups are also developing new tools to treat diabetes. In one study, researchers were able to bond insulin molecules and sugar-sensitive proteins to a biodegradable polymer. The polymer nanopar-ticles are injected into a repository under the skin. The nanoparticles

^ When you have time, see the video of this biosensor device at: http://college. georgetown.edu/research/molecules/14887 .html can detect a diabetic's glucose levels and release appropriate amounts of insulin to keep blood sugar levels steady. The research indicates that diabetics could administer the treatment with only one daily injection, rather than the several pinprick glucose tests and then followed up with insulin shots. An injection a day is all that will be needed. No blood testing. No multiple injections.

Tattoos for Diabetes

Scientists are developing a smart tattoo that could tell diabetics when their glucose levels are dangerously low. Once perfected, the tattoo will allow glucose levels to be monitored around the clock, and could warn the patient if their glucose levels are too low.

The tattoo has been designed by Professors Gerard Cote, of Texas A&M University, and Michael Pishko, of the chemical engineering department at Penn State University. The tattoo is made of polyethylene glycol beads that are coated with fluorescent molecules. The polymer molecules are injected underneath the skin using a needle. Under a light source from a laser or a light-emitting diode, the beads would glow. The amount offluorescence that is emitted is due to any changes in the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream.

In other words, the fluorescence levels change according to the amount of glucose present. As an example, a low glucose level would emit a different fluorescent light than a satisfactory glucose level. The fluorescence levels could be measured using a device, such as a watchlike monitor.

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