News 9 MD: Smart Insulin - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

News 9 MD: Smart Insulin

(Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM)-- Imagine how tough it is for new parents to find out their baby has diabetes and then have to learn as they go how to regulate blood sugar and dose insulin. A mistake could bring coma or death.

However, a researcher in Utah says his "smart insulin" could eliminate guesswork and more. 

Seven-year-old Foster Dunstan was diagnosed with type-one diabetes as a baby.  

“It was overwhelming," say his mom Tricia.” She now tries to balance Foster’s food, blood sugar monitoring, and insulin doses.

Dunstan says, “It took me about a year and a half to start to feel okay with the daily routine. I felt that I went from meal to snack to meal to snack.” 

Now, Foster tests his own blood sugar eight to 12 times a day and injects insulin if he needs it. 

Biochemist Danny Chou, PhD at the University of Utah is developing an injectable “smart” insulin to reduce the work and the guesswork of diabetics like Foster.

This is how it works-- a glucose sensor is attached to an insulin molecule. If blood sugar is good, the insulin is dormant. When blood sugar rises, the sensor turns the insulin molecule on.

Chou says, “Because of the binding, you will generate a chemical modification and we use that modification to design a switch that can control the activity of the insulin.”

Dunstan says for her and Foster, smart insulin would make life so much easier, “We’d like to see it as soon as possible, of course I would’ve like to see it yesterday.” 

The Dunstans will have to wait a little while to get their hands on the smart insulin.  Dr. Chou figures it’ll be three to five years before it gets to human clinical trials, then it’s up to the FDA a to approve it for market. 

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