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Posts tagged ‘nanotechnology’

MicroCHIPS – 1st successful human trial!

A friend who keeps up on the latest scientific developments (he retired from IT to a beach in Malaysia – the choices we make in life…) just sent me a link to successful human trials of  a wirelessly controlled microchip, implanted in the body, that delivers drugs more precisely than injections. Move over, Fantastic Voyage! (Note that the human trials took place in Denmark – move over, FDA.)

This was still a prototype last year, and now – ‘These programmable chips could dramatically change treatment not only for osteoporosis, but also for many other diseases…that require frequent or daily injections…” says Robert Farra, president and chief operating officer at MicroCHIPS and lead author of the paper.
“Compliance is very important in a lot of drug regimens, and it can be very difficult to get patients to accept a drug regimen where they have to give themselves injections,” says Cima, the David H. Koch Professor of Engineering at MIT. “This avoids the compliance issue completely, and points to a future where you have fully automated drug regimens.”

You thinking what I’m thinking?

I don’t think we have insulin concentrated enough yet to fit into a 1mm microchip, but if someone developed concentrated, stable glucagon, my wish would be to have a wirelessly controlled chip of the stuff synched up with our Dex and lovingly injected into our son, so I’d know that day or night, GI bug or other wackiness, his blood sugar could be instantly brought back up to safe levels. Insulin is grand – it’s the stuff that keeps him ticking like the little Energizer bunny he is – but I’m tired of driving Luke without a real emergency brake.

Go, MicroCHIPS, go! I can wait till 2014 for you to file for regulatory approval. Really. And if you get CE approval first, well – I’ve always wanted our family to live overseas at some point.


Getting Smarter About Smart Insulin

JDRF is getting smarter about smart insulin.

They’re funding another round of Glucose-Reponsive Insulin research (explained in a webcast today) but this time they’re not handing over a lump sum; the Glucose-Responsive Insulin Prize will be offered in stages, with $100K for the “Ideation Challenge.”

Smart! A couple years ago, JDRF funded SmartCells‘ development of Smart Insulin, which made good progress. They completed proof-of-concept trials, moved into pre-clinical trials (happy mice!),

and were acquired by Merck in December of last year.  Whither Smart Insulin, whose patent now belongs to Merck?

Comments scrolling by during the webcast expressed doubt about whether Merck would bring Smart Insulin to market. There’s some reason to be hopeful. Merck has two Type2 drugs (Janumet & Januvia) that lower insulin resistance: Smart Insulin would be a great complement, and the T2 market would ensure the financial incentive.

Back to JDRF’s GRI Prize: participants will transfer IP rights to JDRF, protecting the IP even if the company is acquired.

And they’re crowd-sourcing the idea (partnering with InnoCentive) – we can all get in on it!

You have till mid-November to submit your ideas (know a smart chemist?).  Maybe Diabetes Mine can get in on the crowd-sourcing as well!

Hope Comes in Small Sizes: 1mm Injectible Computer

A news tidbit today reminded me that hope can come in small sizes:

The University of Michigan just announced two prototypes that could vastly improve diabetes treatment: a 1mm injectable computer (designed to measure eye pressure in glaucoma patients) and a compact radio that could organize these tiny computers into a wireless sensor networks. Like any diabetes-obsessed parent of a kid with T1, my first thought was: implantable CGM – on its way! This is far from the market – the researchers are applying for a patent and looking for industry partners – but there are parallel efforts by MicroCHIPS that are tantalizing as well.

MicroCHIPS just started (Feb. 2011) clinical trials of an implanted osteoporosis drug delivery device with the goal of eliminating painful daily injections. Sound like a familiar problem? 🙂 The device holds tiny doses of a drug inside reservoirs that can pop open on a pre-programmed schedule or via a handheld wireless device. The device can also hold an array of sensors that could be exposed in the body to detect blood sugar level – an implanted CGM, the “Illume™”, which would last months/years in the body. They received $16.5 million in funding for research into this in 2010, with trials planned to start this year. Fingers crossed!

Aside from being key part of an artificial pancreas, an accurate implanted CGM would give diabetics’ fingers a break. Last night we had a two-hour long fight with low blood sugar (rebound effect after a cold), which had us pricking Luke’s fingers every 5-10 minutes:



Carbs (juice)



6 (2 oz. juice)



(100 pt. drop in 15 min?!)

13 (4 oz. juice)



11 (3 oz. juice)






11 (3 oz juice)





138 (whew)


Poor guy was up until 11pm, with his parents pouring sugar into him – the perverse things diabetes makes you do to a toddler!

When the ‘betes gets me down, I go looking for hope in technology (a bias from working in IT, I realize)…

Breathalizers, contact lenses, tattoos, nanotechnology, smart insulin, immunology – bring it on!

And – who says medical devices have to be clunky? A little design sense, please! Watches, charms, phone apps… DiabetesMine™ puts on a yearly Design Challenge to spur on design ideas, including a kids category.

That said, I’m off to listen to the JDRF artificial pancreas Q&A. A person can always dream…