Drug delivered: Insulin
Innovation: Long-term insulin support for diabetics
Research organizations: North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Boston Children's Hospital, MIT
Making use of nanotech's ability to control the release of treatments in a very specific way, researchers in the U.S. recently developed a network of nanoparticles that enable "smart" delivery of insulin to treat diabetes without constant injections.
The delivery platform works much like a series of tiny pancreases in the bloodstream, with each nanoparticle releasing its solid core of insulin when blood sugar levels become higher than normal. Before then, the particles remain innocuous, allowing diabetics to go as long as 10 days without a shot.
The much-sought-after technology, created by scientists from North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Boston Children's Hospital and Robert Langer's lab at MIT, could be very lucrative in the huge diabetes market, and the researchers are in discussions to begin human clinical trials.