The utilization of technology in helping to find cure in different serious medical illnesses continues, one of which was the recent news that researchers has found out a new device allowing to control insulin-producing cells implanted in mice with a smartphone app.
Eventhough, it is not yet applicable to human right now, and definitely there is much work yet to do before human trials are possible, the said device may one day mean diabetic maintenance without needles.
As we can witness to people with diabetes, insulin injections are often an “inevitable: part of life.
However, a new device created by Chinese researchers and tested in mice may make needles a thing of the past, the team implanted insulin-producing cells into diabetic mice and then used a smartphone app to “switch” those cells on.
Within two hours, the blood sugar levels of the mice were stabilized by the device, which its creators are calling HydrogeLED.
As of posting, the device in its most advanced form — a hydrogel capsule the size of a coin — can be implanted under a mouse’s skin.
According to the proponents, the capsule contains the insulin-producing cells and LED lights. The cells are engineered release insulin only when those lights turn on.
Furthermore on the explanation of the significant research, the mouse’s blood sugar levels can be monitored with a separate Bluetooth-enabled glucometer that alerts the app when levels climb too high.
The application will then switch on the LEDs, triggering the release of insulin, permitting the user to manually control how bright the LEDs are and how long they shine, thus controlling how much insulin the cells make.
It is now considered, no doubt, that this is an amazing development in the field of medicine, but it remains limited for now. The mice are confined within an electromagnetic field coil that acts much like a smart home hub; this is how the app can communicate with the server.
The researchers said that the LEDs are powered by the electromagnetic field itself, which means that the entire system would stop working outside the coil.
Meanwhile, future versions of the HydrogeLED will ideally solve both of these issues.
Based on the report of Popular Science, study author Haifeng Ye plans for 24-hour monitoring of blood sugar with a built-in glucometer that automatically triggers LEDs when insulin is needed. Also, incorporating batteries would allow patients to be totally mobile.
As of the moment, the HydrogeLED is not yet ready for human trials.
According to the report, Ye and his team have tested it over the course of 15 days in several animals, but will need to test it in more varieties of larger animals for longer periods of time.
In addition, to ensure that the device won’t trigger an immune response or rejection in users, the team must see to it that all the materials in each component are safe for implantation.