Un nuevo parche administra insulina a medida que aumenta la glucosa en sangre

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Investigadores de la Universidad de California en Los Ángeles, la Universidad de Carolina del Norte y el MIT han creado un dispositivo portátil en forma de parche que libera insulina, de forma automática, en función del aumento de los niveles de glucosa.

25.04.2020

Los nuevos avances tecnológicos han tenido su impacto en como las personas con diabetes controlan sus niveles de azúcar en la sangre. Una combinación de un glucómetro portátil y una bomba de insulina, conectada a través de un mecanismo de control inteligente, puede funcionar como un páncreas artificial.

Ahora, un equipo de investigadores de la Universidad de California en Los Ángeles, la Universidad de Carolina del Norte y el MIT ha dado un paso más y ha creado un dispositivo portátil en forma de parche que libera insulina, de forma automática, en función del aumento de los niveles de glucosa.

Este dispositivo adhesivo tiene aproximadamente el tamaño de una moneda de un cuarto de dólar de los Estados Unidos y cuenta con docenas de pequeñas agujas cargadas de insulina

Este dispositivo adhesivo tiene aproximadamente el tamaño de una moneda de un cuarto de dólar de los Estados Unidos y cuenta con docenas de pequeñas agujas cargadas de insulina. Unos filamentos que tienen menos de un milímetro de longitud y están hechos de un polímero sensible a la glucosa. A medida que la concentración de glucosa alcanza un nivel preestablecido, las agujas comienzan a liberar la insulina almacenada dentro de ellas. Cuando los niveles de azúcar bajan, la liberación de insulina también se ralentiza.

“Nuestro objetivo principal es mejorar la salud y la calidad de vida de las personas que tienen diabetes”, ha dicho Zhen Gu, profesor de Bioingeniería en la Facultad de Ingeniería en la Universidad de California en Los Ángeles. El propio Gu añade que “este parche inteligente elimina la necesidad de controlar constantemente el nivel de azúcar en la sangre y, luego, inyectarse insulina cuando sea necesario. Imita la función reguladora del páncreas, pero de una manera fácil de usar”.

La tecnología es barata de fabricar y, algún día, las personas con diabetes podrán ponerse uno de estos parches por la mañana y no preocuparse por sus niveles de glucosa durante el resto del día

Hasta ahora, los nuevos parches se han probado en ratones y cerdos con diabetes tipo 1. En el caso de los cerdos pudieron mantener los niveles de glucosa bajo control durante aproximadamente 20 horas. Dado que las agujas del parche son cortas, no deberían causar mucho dolor en comparación con las punciones de dedos y las agujas de inyección tradicionales, toda vez que funcionan de manera rápida y automática para prevenir la hipoglucemia.

Según declaran los investigadores de los centros académicos, la tecnología es barata de fabricar y, algún día, las personas con diabetes podrán ponerse uno de estos parches por la mañana y no preocuparse por sus niveles de glucosa durante el resto del día.

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