Optically Controlled Insulin

Modern blood sugar devices
Modern blood sugar devices

Sulfonylureas are among the commonly used anti-diabetic drugs worldwide, and especially in India- where they are considered economical. However, as these drugs intermittently stimulate insulin production from the patient's pancreas, this insulin release can lead to episodic low sugars- necessitating persons taking it to snack periodically.

This snacking could predispose to weight gain too. Commonly used sulfonylureas in India include glimepiride and glibenclamide. A new innovation, published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, describes the use of a photo-switchable sulfonylurea- that stimulates insulin release depending on exposure to light- especially light of the violet-blue variety. This project is still in animal studies, but if translated to routine care- the optical control of insulin release may offer new ways to treat diabetes.

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