Researchers from the University of Central Florida recently received a $400,000 grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which they will use to create a tube that resists infection and encapsulation and is inserted under the skin for the delivery of insulin via a pump.
The newly designed tubes, or cannulas, would be able to replace the current insulin infusion cannula which often leads to problems such as inflammation and infections, according to the researchers. The newer cannula would have a coating to reduce those problems and would only need to replaced possibly once a month, the researchers said.
“Most of the commercial cannulas that patients are using right now do not really have any mechanism or way to reduce the infection or encapsulation issues,” UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science assistant professor Elizabeth Brisbois said in a statement.
“Infusion-pump therapy can be painful because patients have to insert a new cannula every few days,” said Brisbois, who is leading the research project. “We’re hoping that the new cannula coating will reduce that frequency to once every 30 days. That’s one of our goals.”
According to Brisbois, the new coating, which has proven to be successful in the lab, will mimic the body's nitric oxide release and kill the bacteria and reduce inflammation.
“I think most people know someone with diabetes, so we can all kind of relate to some of the burden they face to carefully monitor their blood glucose levels and administer insulin," she said. "So, I’m really excited about working on this new project and improving the reliability of insulin infusion sets.”