Breakthrough May Ease Insulin Administration for Type 1 Diabetics

Device would eliminate hundreds of injections for millions of diabetics

December 17, 2012
      Contact: Kristin Pitts
 (816) 235-6678,

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Researchers at the University of Missouri-Kansas City have discovered a way to make insulin administration easier and more effective. This breakthrough could affect tens of millions of Type 1 diabetics worldwide by replacing needle sticks with a beam of light.
           Although insulin can treat Type 1 diabetes, administering multiple daily injections is taxing, and inconsistently effective. Researchers with UMKC’s School of Pharmacy have developed a new method called a photoactivated depot. They wrote about the advance for an upcoming issue of Angewandte Chemie, the highest ranked weekly chemistry journal in the world.
           With a photoactivated depot (PAD), insulin is linked to an insoluble polymer by a connection that can be broken with light. The depot can be injected just under the patient’s skin. Insulin can then be released from the polymer by light irradiation through the skin, and then absorbed into the body. Since one injected depot can contain a large amount of insulin, the PAD has the potential to eliminate hundreds of injections. In addition, because light can be administered at any time interval, the release of insulin could be more finely controlled.
              Simon Friedman, associate professor of pharmacy and his student co-authors, Piyush Jain and Dipu Karunakaran, successfully made the first generation of PAD’s. The results have just been published in Angewandte Chemie.
“A project like this comes along once in a career if you’re lucky.  We’re aiming to improve the lives of diabetics all over the world,” Friedman said.
              The article, entitled “A Photoactivated Insulin Depot” was called “a paradigm shift” and “truly innovative” by the journal’s reviewer. This research has the potential to directly impact the health outcomes of tens of millions of type 1 diabetics worldwide.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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