New Diabetes Drug Is Activated By Light

A new drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes can be activated according to when the patient needs it by shining a blue light on the skin. This treatment is currently being looked at in a new study and could one day allow patients with diabetes to have more control over blood sugar levels. The study was done by changing an existing diabetes drug so that it could become activated only when it is exposed to a blue light.


Following the activation of the drug b the blue light, the drug caused the release of insulin by pancreatic cells grown in a lab dish. For people that have type 2 diabetes insulin does not work properly or is not produced in great enough quantities which can cause high blood sugar levels. So far the study has only been done using cells in a lab dish which means that there is a significant amount of testing as well as human trials that will need to be performed before the treatment could actually be delivered to patients.


The treatment would theoretically work by shining a blue light on the abdomen in order to activate drug and switching off the blue light when the treatment is not needed. The activation of the drug requires only a small amount of blue light. The treatment would be used in order to generate more insulin during times when it is needed such as when the patient eats a meal. The drug may also help to better control patient’s blood sugar levels because it would be delivered exactly to the location in which it is needed in the pancreas.


The drugs for type 2 diabetes that are currently available often cause side effects because they can affect the other organs of the body including the brain and the heart. The current available drugs can also sometimes cause too much insulin to be released. The developing of diabetes drugs that require light for activation is still in the early stages. However, it is an area of study that when combined with further research could produce diabetes drugs that are more targeted.


This study was published on October 14, 2014 to the scientific journal, Nature Communications.

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