Research: Transdermal Drug Delivery of Insulin for Diabetics
Mentor: Dalia Laredo
Research Location: Regeneron
Insulin therapy is an efficient treatment option for diabetes due to its ability to control blood glucose levels therefore preventing the progression of complications associated with diabetes. Insulin therapy is commonly administered through a subcutaneous drug route in the form of insulin injections and insulin syringes. Complications associated with subcutaneous drug delivery of insulin include injection site infections, allergic reactions, bleeding, bruising, idiosyncratic skin pigmentation and lipoatrophy. Another drug delivery route, transdermal drug delivery (TDD), where the drug is inserted directly into the dermis layer of the skin, has been assessed for its efficiency in administering drugs. Advantages to TDD include less risk of infection, as it is noninvasive, inexpensive and provides higher levels of comfort for people dealing with needle-phobia. Hollow microneedles made out of alginate and gelatin were 3D printed, packed with an insulin solution and placed on a skin model to monitor how much insulin was able to pass through the dermis successfully. Chromatography, a method used to separate out proteins, in this case insulin, was used to determine the amount of insulin that exited the patch. The excipients used in our solution did not show up on our chromatographies so we were able to separate the protein samples by protein mass to determine the amount of insulin by its weight in grams. We also monitored that the insulin did not accumulate in the dermis layer of the skin since that would influence an immune system response, making insulin ineffective. Insulin-loaded hollow microneedle patches could potentially serve as a successful non-invasive treatment option for diabetes which could make continuing insulin therapy for patients easier to do properly.