UNSW researchers have developed a more accurate, less confronting and more convenient way of administering insulin to diabetics.
Currently the 800,000 people diagnosed with diabetes in Australia must inject their daily doses of insulin.
But in the future they could inhale their insulin. PhD student Roderick Sih from the School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering and his supervisor Professor Neil Foster have developed a process which results in a fluffy white insulin powder able to be easily inhaled.
"Inhaled insulin also brings the promise of a more rapid onset of action," said Roderick Sih. "This means diabetics would only inhale doses 10 minutes before meals, instead of injections 30 minutes ahead of time."
As well as being easier to use, pulmonary delivery of insulin would allow for accurate blood-glucose control. This would prevent patients from overdosing - which is a very real risk for those injecting insulin. If too much is administered, diabetics have only moments to compensate with dextrose before they plunge into a hypoglycaemic coma.
The technology has other potential applications. It could be used to process treatments for asthma and other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
NewSouth Innovations (NSi), which specialises in transforming research and technology developed at UNSW, has already established a spin-off company, Nanomed Pty Ltd, as a commercialisation vehicle for the technology.
For the full story, go to page 30 of the Research@UNSW publication (3.3Mb)