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Breakthrough Hydrogel-Based Treatment Offers Long-Lasting Relief for Type 2 Diabetes Patients

A patient being vaccinated with Type 2 Diabetes vaccine

Diabetes, or prediabetes, affects around 130 million individuals globally, indicating the massive burden of this metabolic condition. Diabetes and prediabetes have a yearly cost of $400 billion, making it the tenth most costly disease in the United States. The vast majority of these cases are classified as type 2 Diabetes (T2D), a disorder characterized by problems with glucose management, insulin resistance, and pancreatic cell degeneration.

Patients with poorly treated type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop serious consequences such as nephropathy, retinopathy, neuropathy, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Poor treatment adherence is a significant problem, regardless of how difficult it is to obtain care. Although other variables play a role, the most prevalent negative consequences include hypoglycemia, weight gain, and gastrointestinal side effects.

The family of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, or GLP-1 RAs, is an essential weapon in the battle against type 2 diabetes. Among the many advantages of these medications are improved glucose control, weight management, and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Patient adherence is a critical component of successful therapy, which is why the pharmaceutical load has prompted investigations on long-acting formulations.

The creation of injectable PNP hydrogels and other supramolecular hydrogels is one such technique. The potential of these hydrogels to distribute GLP-1 RAs sustainably, implying months of therapy with a single injection, prompted the researchers to predict that they would disrupt the industry.  

The possibility of encasing semaglutide and liraglutide, two prominent GLP-1 RAs, in PNP hydrogels, was examined in this work. The results showed that injectability, tolerability, and, most crucially, four months of continuous therapy per administration could be maintained by combining these drugs with the hydrogels. This was heartening news.  

The most notable advancements were in reducing treatment burden and boosting patient compliance. When patients’ dosages are timed to correspond with their regular medical appointments, they are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans and achieve more significant results. Treatment should be administered every four months, which is the appropriate frequency because this is when patients typically see their primary care physician or endocrinologist.  

An insulin-impaired rat model of type 2 diabetes revealed effectiveness throughout a 42-day study period when semaglutide and liraglutide hydrogel formulations were administered. Hydrogel formulations beat daily injections, suggesting a potential paradigm change in diabetes therapy. By exploring the impact of hydrogel-based GLP-1 RA therapies on the kinetics of drug release from the hydrogel depot in living creatures, this work adds to our understanding of the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of hydrogel-based GLP-1 RA treatments.

In humans, these possible pharmaceutical treatments based on compartment modeling can give four months of continuous therapy with a single dosage. This pioneering study provides the groundwork for a paradigm change in diabetes care by utilizing cutting-edge hydrogel technology.

This discovery has the potential to not only improve diabetes therapy but it may also open the way for the production of therapeutic peptides and proteins with longer half-lives. Another crucial reason why this result is noteworthy is that it will improve the quality of treatment for obesity and Type 1 diabetes. 

Journal Reference  

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(N.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cell.com/cell-reports-medicine/fulltext/S2666-3791(23)00486-X?_returnURL=https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S266637912300486X?showall%3Dtrue#secsectitle0070 

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