BioPharma

Purdue is dedicating a lot of energy toward addressing diabetes with 5 new technologies

More than 29 million Americans have diabetes and 86 million have prediabetes. Purdue University researchers are focusing on new innovations in treatment.

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization is looking to address the massive issue of diabetes in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 29 million Americans have diabetes and 86 million have prediabetes.

Right before Thanksgiving and Christmas, we are perhaps a bit more conscious of over-eating and how things like caloric intake play a role in how our bodies function. That issue as a whole in mind, Purdue’s researchers have multiple patent-pending technologies that could help address the disease.

They include:

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Encapsulation of cells and tissues. Type 1 diabetes destroys cells that produce insulin. Although cell transplants can be initially successful, some are lost after the transplant because of innate immune responses. The Purdue technology encapsulates the cells to enable long-term survival and reinstate insulin production, which leads to normal glucose control in Type 1 diabetes patients.

Water soluble, stable glucagon. Glucagon is a hormone used to treat diabetic patients, but it is marketed in freeze-dried form that inhibits its use in medical pens and pumps. As a result, the delivery process is complicated, particularly in emergencies. The Purdue technology stabilizes the hormone and improves its solubility in aqueous form, and allows applications such as pens, pumps or an artificial pancreas.

Graphene petal biosensor. More sensitive instruments for biological sensing must be developed as even minute changes in body fluids can show early warning signs of disease. The Purdue technology is a robust monitoring sensor made of graphene that detects glucose levels not only in blood, but also saliva, tears and urine. The sensors can be fabricated inexpensively to enable noninvasive monitoring of glucose levels.

Method to extract insulin grown in cell cultures. Insulin can be produced in cell cultures, but the process to extract it and process it into a usable therapeutic results in a loss of almost 40 percent. The Purdue technology uses a unique combination of agents to boost the yield of usable insulin to approximately 72 percent.

System to deliver therapeutic to treat obesity. The risks of obesity and Type 2 diabetes can be reduced when brown or beige adipose tissue, or fat, are activated. The injection of a chemical compound induces the conversion of white-to-beige adipose, but uncontrolled delivery of the compound has hindered treatments. The Purdue technology is a biocompatible system that gradually releases the compound as the system degrades.

Early diabetes prevention is clearly optimal, but new technologies such as these are contributing to make a difference in a large amount of people’s lives, especially in the U.S.

Photo: Flickr user Jill Brown