Novel, First-in-Class “Smart” insulin Automatically Adjusts Blood Sugar in Diabetic Mouse Model

For patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the burden of constantly monitoring their blood sugar and judging when and how much insulin to self-inject, is bad enough. Even worse, a miscalculation or lapse in regimen can cause blood sugar levels to rise too high (hyperglycemia), potentially leading to heart disease, blindness, and other long-term complications, or to plummet too low (hypoglycemia), which, in the worst cases, can result in coma or even death. To mitigate the dangers inherent to insulin dosing, a University of Utah biochemist and fellow scientists have created Ins-PBA-F, a long-lasting "smart" insulin that self-activates when blood sugar soars. Tests In mouse models for T1D show that one injection works for a minimum of 14 hours, during which time, Ins-PBA-F can repeatedly and automatically lower blood sugar levels after mice are given amounts of sugar comparable to what they would consume at meal-time. Ins-PBA-F acts more quickly, and is better at lowering blood sugar, than long-acting insulin detimir, marketed as LEVIMIR. In fact, the speed and kinetics of touching down to safe blood glucose levels are identical in diabetic mouse models treated with Ins-PBA-F and in healthy mice whose blood sugar is regulated by their own insulin. A study showing these findings was published online on February 9, 2015 in PNAS. The title of this article is, “Glucose-Responsive Insulin Activity by Covalent Modification with Aliphatic Phenylboronic Acid Conjugates.” "This is an important advance in insulin therapy," says co-first author Danny Chou, Ph.D., USTAR Investigator and Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Utah. "Our insulin derivative appears to control blood sugar better than anything that is available to diabetes patients right now." Dr.
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