Scientists develop injectable silk fibroin-based hydrogel for sustained insulin delivery in diabetic patients

Scientists develop injectable silk fibroin-based hydrogel for sustained insulin delivery in diabetic patients

Scientists at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), have developed an injectable silk fibroin (SF) based hydrogel formulation for sustained insulin delivery in diabetic patients.

Treatment using multiple subcutaneous insulin injections are used as a last resort in patients with diabetes to maintain the physiological glucose homeostasis. However, the repeated injection is often known to be associated with pain, local tissue necrosis, infection, nerve damage, and locally concentrated insulin amyloidosis deterring the physiological glucose homeostasis.

To overcome this problem the research team led by Prof. T. Govindaraju from JNCASR developed the injectable SF hydrogel (iSFH) formulation using biocompatible additives to enable a more controlled and sustained insulin delivery.

Encapsulation and sustained delivery of insulin in its active form is the key to the development of such controlled and sustained delivery of insulin.

Using rat models, the team demonstrated that subcutaneous injection of insulin using iSFH formed an active store under the skin from which insulin was delivered slowly in the body maintaining the physiological glucose homeostasis for up to 4 days. Also, the risk of low blood sugar was not observed which could have occurred through a sudden burst of high concentration of insulin into the blood, thus making it more reliable.

The viscous additives used by the team further restricted the mobility of SF protein backbones which resulted in the rapid gelatin formation. The microstructures and porous morphology of iSFH also contributed to the mechanical strength for injectability and allowed the encapsulation of human recombinant insulin in its active form in diabetic rats.

The results have been published in the journal ACS Applied Bio Materials.

Straight Talk