A new treatment for diabetes in the form of a biopolymer injection lasts more than two weeks in primates, promising to eclipse present medication options in humans.
Biomedical engineers at Duke University have created a technology that would furnish weeks of glucose control for diabetes with a single injection, which would be a dramatic improvement over present cures. In primates, the treatment has been proven to last for weeks, as a substitute than days.
By making a controlled release mechanism for a drug and optimizing its circulation time in the body, this new biopolymer injection has the capacity to replace every day or weekly insulin shots with a once-a-month or twice-a-month treatment for type 2 diabetes.
The new remedy is described June 5 in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
Many present treatments for type 2 diabetes use a signaling molecule called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) to intent the pancreas to free up insulin to control blood sugar. Nonetheless, this peptide has a brief half-lifes and is cleared from the body rapidly.
To make treatments last longer, researchers have beforehand fused GLP1 with artificial microspheres and biomolecules like antibodies, making them active for two to three days in mice and up to per week in humans. Despite this improvement, many of these treatments don’t incorporate a mechanism to manipulate the rate of the peptide’s release, causing the treatment’s effectiveness to plateau after prolonged use.
Now researchers at Duke have created a technological method that fuses GLP1 to a heat-sensitive elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) in a solution that can be injected into the dermis via a typical needle. Once injected, the solution reacts with body warmth to form a biodegradable gel-like “depot” that slowly releases the drug because it dissolves. In animal experiments, the resulting treatment provided glucose control for up to 3 times longer than treatments currently on the market.
According to Ashutosh Chilkoti, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Duke University and a senior author of the paper, Although we’ve pursued this method in the past, Kelli Luginbuhl, a grad student in my lab, systematically worked to vary the design of the delivery biopolymer at the molecular level and found a sweet spot that maximized the duration of the drug’s delivery from a single injection. By doing so, we managed to triple the duration of this short-acting drug for type 2 diabetes, outperforming other competing designs.
Building upon their prior work with the drug and supply system, researchers in the Chilkoti lab optimized their way to keep an eye on glucose levels in mice for 10 days after a single injection, up from the earlier regular of 2-3 days.
In further exams, the group observed that the optimized formulation multiplied glucose control in rhesus monkeys for more than 14 days after a single injection, at the same time also releasing the drug at a consistent fee in the course of the trial.
According to Kelli Luginbuhl, a PhD student in the Chilkoti lab and co-author of the study, What’s exciting about this work was our ability to demonstrate that the drug could last over two weeks in non-human primates. Because our metabolism is slower than monkeys and mice, the treatment should theoretically last even longer in humans, so our hope is that this will be the first bi-weekly or once-a-month formulation for people with type 2 diabetes.