Led by ETH Zurich Professor of Biotechnology and Bioengineering Martin Fussenegger, a team has developed an implant that converts excess blood glucose into electricity It fuels cells designed to produce insulin.
Bioelectronic implants currently require too much power to run on batteries and need to be powered wirelessly by external generators. this invention it turns the person in question into a battery during their hyperglycemic episodes.
He implant for diabetes control, which the team tested in 2016, consists of a capsule containing artificial beta cells. When stimulated with electricity, cells can autonomously generate insulin.
Sensing excess sugar in the blood, the cell activates, telling the beta cells to release insulin. The cell is then automatically deactivated when the levels of glucose they return to normal. Plus, it can connect to a mobile app to give patients and doctors more control over its operation and status.
The solution for diabetics who still have a long way to go
Harnessing blood glucose as a source of energy to run a device of this type is a clear advance for these people.
It is true that this team did not invent the idea of electrometabolic conversion, but previous attempts have had problems including low power output, limited electron transfer, short device lifespan…etc.
The team has overcome these problems, they say, with their “mediator-free metabolic fuel cell that constantly monitors blood glucose levels, produces electricity exclusively during hyperglycemia, and generates enough electricity to power and control bioelectronic implants based on optogenetics and electrogenetics”.
Despite this great news and news, comment that the Swiss team lacks the finances and manpower to bring their idea to market. Plus, he’s only tested his device in mice, so it’s likely a long way from more testing and funding before this implant can help treat the disease. diabetes in humans.