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DNA India
14 July 2010
New Delhi, India

In a major breakthrough, Indian scientists claimed on Tuesday to have developed single–shot insulin Supramolecular Insulin Assembly–II (SIA–II) which can help diabetics control blood sugar levels for almost two months.

Developed by National Immunology Institute (NII), New Delhi, scientists, SIA–II is said to have tremendous therapeutic potential and is expected to constitute a new way of treatment for diabetes patients around the world.

At present, diabetics go through the trauma of pricking themselves daily, while many even take 90 insulin shots a month.

But a single shot of SIA–II would continuously release just above basal levels of insulin into blood in a sustained manner, curbing the increase in glucose levels after meals. It also does not cause severe hypoglycaemia in the morning, a dreadful condition faced by diabetics.

“A patient has to now take only a single shot of insulin to keep sugar levels under control for over a month. Besides providing relief from the trauma of pricking oneself daily, the drug counters bad effects of diabetes such as cataract and kidney failure,” Avadhesha Surolia, NII director and head of the research team, said.

The breakthrough came after a research of almost three years and at a cost of over Rs20 lakh.

NII scientists have patented the technology and transferred it to a US company which will conduct clinical trials on humans for toxicity. Surolia said it will take another 4–6 years for the insulin shot to reach the market.

The innovation is one of the biggest to have come from a government research laboratory and the Indian medical community is impressed.

“This is an exciting research. However, the drug system has been tested only on rats and there is a long way to go before it benefits patients,” Anoop Misra, head of diabetes and metabolic diseases at Fortis Hospitals, New Delhi, said.

SIA–II was successfully tested on rats which demonstrated lower blood glucose levels to normal values up to 120 days.

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