A new type of insulin delivery device is being developed in US that could lead to patients with type 1 diabetes managing their condition without the need for daily injections.
The electronic skin patch, called the U-Strip, uses sound wave technology to administer insulin through the skin and into the bloodstream in a matter of seconds, unlike nicotine and other drug-releasing skin patches which let the active drug gradually seep through the skin.
The sound waves come from a mobile-sized handheld device, called a sonic applicator, which is held directly over the patch on the patient’s upper arm. At the press of a butto, the device produces a burst of sound waves that open up sweat glands and hair follicles in the skin, sending the insulin dose directly into the blood to help keep glucose levels under control.
According to the firm behind the new technology, Pennsylvania-based Transdermal Specialties Inc., the patch can hold enough insulin to last the patient several days. It also contains a computer chip so that doctors can programme exactly how much insulin needs to be delivered into the body and can send the data wirelessly to a computer so it can be forwarded to the patient’s GP.
Results from initial trials in the US involving around 100 people with type 1 diabetes (also known as insulin-dependent diabetes) suggest the waterproof patch can deliver insulin into the blood as quickly and effectively as a needle.
There are now plans to test the revolutionary device on more than 500 patients, and if successful, it could become another insulin therapy option for UK diabetics within the next three years.

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