New Delhi: Indian scientists have developed an injectable
Silk fibroin-based hydrogel (iSFH) for sustained insulin delivery in diabetic
Professor T Govindaraju and his research team from the Jawaharlal
Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous research
institute under the Department of Science and Technology, has demonstrated
successful delivery of the active insulin in rats, and the results have been
published in the journal ACS Applied Bio Materials.
“The development can ease insulin delivery in diabetic
patients. A patent application has been filed for the invention,” the Ministry
of Science and Technology said in a statement.
The JNCASR scientists have shown that subcutaneous injection
of insulin with iSFH in diabetic rats formed active depot under the skin from
which insulin trickled out slowly and restored the physiological glucose
homeostasis for a prolonged period of four days with no risks of low blood
sugar through sudden burst of high concentration of insulin into the blood.
The viscous additives used by the team restricted the
mobility of SF protein backbones and resulted in rapid gelation. The
microstructures provide mechanical strength (to support injectability), and the
porous morphology of iSFH allowed encapsulation of human recombinant insulin in
its active form in diabetic rats.
Diabetes affects over 70 million people in India, the
second-highest in the world. It results from inadequate production of insulin
due to loss of beta cells or insulin resistance within the body. It causes glucose
homeostasis, leading to an abrupt rise in blood glucose level.
The conventional treatment involves repeated subcutaneous insulin injections to maintain the physiological glucose homeostasis. The multiple shots are associated with pain, local tissue necrosis, infection, nerve damage, and locally concentrated insulin amyloidosis responsible for inability to achieve physiological glucose homeostasis. This problem can be overcome with controlled and sustained insulin delivery.