Scientists at MIT, USA have developed an implantable device, about the size of chewing gum, that could potentially replace insulin injections for people with type 1 diabetes.
Dr Daniel Anderson, a chemical engineering professor at MIT and a leader in the device’s development said: ‘You can think of this as a living medical device that is made from human cells that secrete insulin, along with an electronic life support system.’
This device acts as an “oxygen factory” that continuously supplies oxygen to insulin-producing cells, eliminating the need for constant blood sugar monitoring and insulin injections.
Tested successfully on mice, the device splits water vapor in the body into hydrogen and oxygen, with the oxygen being used to support transplanted insulin-producing cells.
Unlike current methods, this system also avoids the use of immunosuppressive drugs. The device is powered wirelessly and has shown promising results in controlling blood glucose levels.
Researchers aim to further test the device on larger animals and eventually in humans, with potential applications for other diseases requiring protein delivery over extended periods.