NanoVic’s 24-carat insulin delivery idea

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Insulin Liver Novo nordisk

Although it is widely acknowledged that medical bracelets can be the difference between life and death, Australia’s Nanotechnology Victoria (NanoVic) has become the first to take the idea further with its insulin-delivering jewellery project.

The firm has teamed up with Australian artist and designer Leah Heiss to develop a range of rings, necklaces and earrings into which its MicroArray Patch (MAP) delivery system has been incorporated.

Despite the promising data to emerge from trials of MannKind’s Technosphere, concerns over the safety of inhaled insulins after Pfizer’s failed Exubera product was linked to lung cancer suggest that there remains considerable opportunity for novel delivery systems.

Furthermore, while Merrion’s recent deal with Novo Nordisk indicates that the major players will focus on the oral delivery route, novel products like NanoVic’s jewellery may by eyecatching and compliance friendly enough to win over diabetics keen to sidestep a daily regime of pills.

NanoVic’s MAP platform, which is being developed in collaboration with Monash University, Eiffel Technologies and MiniFAB, is designed to deliver large and small molecules across the outer impermeable layer of the skin, the stratum corneum.

The MAPs are arrays of solid micro-protrusions that can be made from biocompatible and biodegradable polymers to which drugs can be attached or integrated the base polymer.

Nanovic believes that system's steady release of insulin over a prolonged period mean that it produces steady-state levels of blood insulin, decreasing the peaks and troughs that are common to other diabetes medicines.

While commercialisation of the insulin jewellery line is still a long way off, the rationale driving the project is to provide diabetics with a convenient treatment option that boosts compliance and has a minimal impact on quality of life.

As NanoVic’s manager of delivery and sensing development, Michelle Critchley, told Australia’s The Age​, the MAP system can be applied to any type of jewellery, ranging from a child's plastic bangle to a gold engagement ring.

Critchley explained that: “if you look at a lot of portable medications, they’re not attractive. You either have to wear an insulin pump on your back or you have to wear a bandage which is quite obvious and visible to people​.”

NanoVic has not limited its ambitions for MAP to just insulin, arguing that the system is ideal for drugs with short half-lives and those that are too potent to be administered orally or via inhalation.

The firm also says that because the platform administers compounds systemically in a way that bypasses the liver metabolism it is particularly suited for the delivery of toxic medications.

Related topics Ingredients Delivery technologies

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