US researchers say they are one step further to helping people with type 1 diabetes use a type of insulin which only needs to be administered once a day.
It is thought glucose-responsive insulin (GRI) could make a huge impact on the lives of people who have type 1 diabetes as it would mean they could cut out some insulin injections and not have to continually check their blood sugar levels.
At the moment it is hard to predict how certain people will respond to GRI, but a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a computer model which can do exactly that.
Professor Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT, said: “The concept of GRI has been a longstanding goal of the diabetes field. If done correctly, you could make it so that diabetics could take an occasional dose and never have to worry about their blood sugar.”
The model, which is based upon specific equations on existing models of glucose, can predict how the GRI will work in the body across 24 hours, predicting how meals will affect blood sugar levels and how much insulin will need to be released.
Using the American Diabetes Association recommendations of what blood glucose levels should be, they were added to the model to ensure the GRI kept blood sugar control within the correct limits.
Frank Doyle, the dean of Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and who was not involved in the study, said: “They demonstrate effective (simulated) control for three meals in a 24-hour period, as well as a missed meal scenario. Taken together, these results reveal the exciting promise of such a strategy for diabetes treatment, along with the opportunity for human clinical evaluation.”
The next steps involve using the model to find the best GRI candidates and then testing them in mice. The researchers are hopeful the model they have designed could also be used for other types of drugs.
Professor Strano said: “We could envision a future where that’s the norm for all therapeutics: We could ask our drugs to modulate their potency based on our immediate, instantaneous need in real time. That’s pie-in-the-sky at this point, but the starting point of this concept is a model for their design.”

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