Are Sponges The Next Way to Treat Diabetes?

No, not your kitchen sponge.

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It sounds a little bit sci-fi, doesn’t it?

Indeed, it’s true: sponges are the next treatment option for many diabetics, at least scientists hope.

Normally, diabetics need to use injections to regulate glucose levels. Some injections offer fast-acting insulin to help convert excess glucose that is in the blood. Other types of injections act as a slow-acting insulin, which lingers a bit longer in the blood. Some injections are a combination of the two!

These injections have been incredibly helpful to many diabetics over the years. In an otherwise fatal disease, diabetics can control blood glucose so that they can live a semi-normal life (though, let’s face it, daily and hourly injections feel anything but normal).

So then why are scientists trying to find a different treatment option?

Because people hate injections. Injections sometimes come with a lot of nasty side effects, not to mention the fact that they can hurt. They can also cause psychological damage, as well, as needles become associated with panic and frustration.




The Sugar Sponge

Researchers came up with an alternative to injections. What they call the “super sponge” is actually an injected lectin-coated polymer vesicle. This vesicle basically responds to glucose levels by absorbing glucose when there is too much of it, and then releasing that stored glucose when blood glucose levels are low. Though it’s not a sponge at all, it acts much in the same way by absorbing and releasing its contents.

In the study, the sugar sponge was effective in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes mice. In fact, when tested in mice with type 1 diabetes, they saw antidiabetic results within two days.

Further testing is obviously needed in humans before it can be released to the public. The results are pretty exciting, though. Finally, it seems that there will be a way to regulate blood glucose without having to chase your numbers with a nasty injection.

References

Science Daily. URL Link. Retrieved June 1, 2017.


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Marquis is a freelance writer currently living in Ecuador. She contributes to health blogs as well as writes about her experiences as an expat in Ecuador. Her background is in Psychology but she has left that behind to write, on the road.