RESEARCH from academics in the North East could help sufferers of a chronic condition.
Some diabetics may never need to take insulin injections again after scientists at a Sunderland University developed a simple, once-a-day nasal gel.
Research led by Dr Hamde Nazar, a senior lecturer in pharmacy practice, could put an end to numerous daily injections of insulin for people with Type 1 diabetes and some Type 2 diabetics.
Results from tests showed that gel loaded with insulin reduces the blood glucose levels over 24 hours in a diabetic model when administered through the nose and into the bloodstream.
When insulin was taken via an injection, it took just nine hours to return to their normal levels. Dr Nazar said: “This process could potentially be beneficial because it would reduce the number of injections patients would have to administer.
“Some people have to take up to five injections per day. This could replace some of those injections.”
She added: “Reducing the number of insulin injections could significantly improve diabetic patients’ standard of living.”
The research was published yesterday to coincide with World Diabetes Day.
The event, which was marked with lectures and activities around the globe to raise awareness of the condition, is held annually on November 14 as this marks the birthday of Frederick Banting, the man who co-discovered insulin.
It is thought around 300,000 people in the UK suffer from Type 1 diabetes which destroys insulin-making cells in the pancreas. Globally, an estimated 346 million people have Type 2 diabetes.
Sufferers of the condition must inject themselves a number of times each day to prevent blood glucose levels going too high and keep it under control.
Common symptoms of untreated diabetes include weight loss, increased thirst and hunger, and more frequent trips to the toilet.
Injections can be an inconvenience for those with diabetes as well as make them distressed. A nasal spray could be a much more attractive alternative treatment and less painful.
Once in the nose, the solution heats up to nasal temperature and becomes a gel, allowing a longer residence time in the nasal cavity to be effective.
If it didn’t, it would be cleared by beating hairs called cilia in the nose and would not make an impact.
The research led by Dr Nazar took place across the world including in Lebanon, Italy, Greece and Portsmouth.
It has been published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal, Biomaterials Science.