A Video Byte of Dr. Suchetan Pal, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Bhilai, explaining the importance of this research can be viewed and downloaded from the following link:
BHILAI, 21st August 2023: A multi-institutional team led by researchers from IIT Bhilai, including scientists from Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence, Delhi, NCR, and Shri Rawatpura Sarkar Institute of Pharmacy, Chhattisgarh, have successfully engineered a novel Insulin-delivery platform.
This hydrogel-based drug delivery system has the ability to release Insulin in a controlled manner in response to elevated blood glucose levels- mimicking the natural insulin secretion process of healthy pancreatic cells. The study led by Dr Suchetan Pal, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Bhilai, promises a safe and efficient method of supplying Insulin to insulin-dependent diabetic patients.
Highlighting the limitations of current Insulin injection methods, Dr Suchetan Pal, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Bhilai said, "Current insulin injection methods have some limitations. They do not work quite like the body's natural system and can be fatal. The current Insulin injection methods can also make blood sugar levels drop dangerously low, and patients might have to rely on them forever."
Seeking improved methods of insulin delivery, the researchers at IIT Bhilai explored the innovative application of hydrogels. Hydrogels are biocompatible polymers that are characterized by high water content and are being studied for controlled drug release in various medical fields including cardiology, oncology, immunology, wound healing, and pain management. The researchers encapsulated insulin in specially designed hydrogels that can be administered instead of direct insulin injections.
Drawing inspiration from the body's natural insulin secretion process triggered by glucose, the team designed the hydrogels such that they would release insulin when glucose levels are elevated. This was achieved by crosslinking polyvinyl alcohol with tiny particles of chitosan, an ingredient derived from shellfish and crabs' outer skeletons. The crosslinker, formylphenylboronic acid (FPBA), responds to glucose levels and releases the insulin that is encapsulated inside the hydrogel.
Through comprehensive experiments involving small-molecule drug analogs and macromolecular insulin, the team demonstrated that the hydrogels released insulin predominantly under hyperglycemic (high glucose) conditions. The safety and antidiabetic efficacy of insulin-loaded hydrogels were confirmed through tests in a type I rat model.
Emphasizing the versatility of these hydrogels, Dr. Pal added, "These modular hydrogels can take the form of microneedles or oral formulations and can prove sustained delivery of insulin in response to elevated blood glucose levels. This could significantly enhance convenience and safety for patients requiring insulin therapy."
In a paper co-authored by Mr. Akbar Ali, Ms. Saroj, Ms. Sunita Saha, Mr. Sanjay Kumar Gupta, Dr Tatini Rakshit, and Dr Suchetan Pal, the findings of this ground-breaking research have been published in the American Chemical Society journal, Applied Materials and Interfaces.
This study and its discoveries hold significance for India, a country often referred to as the global hub of diabetes. Recent studies by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), featured in The Lancet, reveal alarming numbers: around 101 million Indians are currently grappling with diabetes. This chronic health ailment, stemming from inadequate insulin generation in the pancreas, results in high blood sugar levels and presents considerable health risks.
Insulin remains a cornerstone therapy for many patients with type 1 diabetes. Presently, individuals with diabetes often resort to daily insulin injections using needles or specialized devices to manage their blood sugar levels. It is estimated that around three million people in India rely on insulin therapy.
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