An incredible proof-of-concept study from a team of European scientists has demonstrated the development of a novel insulin molecule that can sense blood sugar levels and self-adjust its activity in response to a patient’s needs. The experimental molecule has only been tested in animals so far but the researchers are hopeful further development will offer diabetics a safer and easier insulin therapy in the future.
For most diabetics, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is akin to constantly balancing on a tightrope. Insulin injections can help lower high blood sugar, but too much insulin or dosing at the wrong time can be dangerous, leading to hypoglycemia.
“The difficult thing with diabetes is that insulin always works the same way,” explains Knud Jensen, an author on the new research from the University of Copenhagen. “It lowers blood sugar, even though that might not be what a patient requires.”
Jensen says he was compelled to develop a safer form of insulin after a colleague told him a story years ago of a type 1 diabetic who passed away after his wife mistakenly gave him insulin at the wrong time. The man was feeling unwell and, thinking it was the result of high blood sugar, insulin was administered. But sadly, the dose of insulin ultimately led to the man’s death.