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Pain-Free Insulin Patch For Diabetes
Starbridge Systems of Swansea, the company behind a "diabetes
patch" which will allow insulin-dependent patients to take the hormone
painlessly hopes that within five years the patch - which looks like a cross
between a credit card and a first-aid plaster - will be helping thousands.
The technology could be modified to help other patients who have to use large,
unwieldy pumps with tubes and long needles to administer their drugs at home.
The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, funded by the
lottery, has awarded the English company £140,000 to develop a prototype,
hopefully by the end of the year.
The firm believes the principle behind products such as nicotine patches, which
release the tobacco ingredient slowly into the bloodstream through the skin, can
be applied to treat conditions needing more carefully controlled and precise
Joseph Cefai, the co-founder and chief executive of Starbridge Systems,
explained that the firm was developing tiny pumps able to respond to
high-density light bursts. The system involves the wax in the pumps melting and
pushing drugs through tiny needles. The laser-started pumps will be held in
disposable "plasters" measuring about 10cm by 5cm (4in by 2in). These plasters
will be controlled by small panels programmed by the patients, to allow doses to
be varied according to blood-sugar levels.
Mr Cefai believes the patch will be able to carry up to three days' supply of
insulin and will be easy to remove and stick to various parts of the body. "It
will release diabetics from the need to use syringes and needles, enabling them
to continuously infuse insulin," he said. "They will be able to lead a normal
Mr Cefai believes his product will add an extra dimension: "Not only will the
pump be small, cheap and effective, it will also be simple to use." Mark White,
director of invention and innovation at the National Endowment for Science,
Technology and the Arts, said: "This has the potential to change people's
Source: Diabetes In Control.com.
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