A New All-In One Approach to Diabetes Treatment

Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on a new kind of device that could streamline the process of blood glucose measurement and insulin injection, making it easier for patients and increasing the metabolic control of diabetic patients. 

People with diabetes that are under an insulin treatment regimen need to inject the medication before consuming a meal, which is a time consuming process that at times requires estimating the carbohydrate content of the meal, measuring glucose levels with a blood glucose monitor, and then calculating and delivering the insulin dose. 

All of these steps make the process tedious for patients, which increases the risk of patients not sticking to their treatment plan. 

The team of researchers designed 2 different devices that could simplify the process of calculating the correct dose of insulin. 

The first one combines many of the previously mentioned steps into a single device, and the second prototype incorporates flexible electronics onto the surface of a needle so both the glucose measurement and insulin delivery can happen through the same needle.

Both devices will be connected to a smartphone app. Patients will first take a picture of the food, and the app will be able to estimate the volume of food and the amount of carbohydrates based on nutrient information from a USDA database. 

This will allow patients to have everything they need to collect blood, calculate the glucose level, and do the insulin injection in a single device.

The device will be able to measure glucose levels in the interstitial fluid, which is just below the surface of the skin, and once the needle penetrates the skin, it will take about 5-10 seconds to measure the glucose levels, then the app will calculate the insulin dose and delivers it through the same inserted needle. 

The process will take time, but hopefully the device can be tested soon in human studies to make it available for the general public. A device like this could increase the adherence of patients to their treatment regimens, and at the same time reduce the complications that come with not having an adequate metabolic control of diabetes. 


Anne Trafton (2022, Jan 20). An all-in-one approach to diabetes treatment. MIT News. Retrieved from: https://news.mit.edu/2022/all-one-diabetes-insulin-0120 

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