A new sponge-like treatment containing an insulin core may help release insulin at a more controlled pace. The new 'sponge-like' material releases insulin based on glucose levels. When a patient's blood sugar increases, hydrogen ions will be released through the nanocapsules enzymes that will bond to chitosan, creating a positive charge. The charge is what causes the ions to separate, releasing the drug into the bloodstream.
The researchers created a spherical, sponge-like matrix out of chitosan, a material found in shrimp and crab shells. Scattered throughout this matrix are smaller nanocapsules made of a porous polymer that contain glucose oxidase or catalase enzymes. The sponge-like matrix surrounds a reservoir that contains insulin. The entire matrix sphere is approximately 250 micrometers in diameter and can be injected into a patient.
Researchers are hoping this sponge matrix can also help with the delivery of drugs for cancer patients. Will injectable sponges be the future of controlled drug delivery? What other types of treatments could this be used for?