DIABETES sufferers may never need to take insulin injections again after scientists developed a once-a-day nasal spray.
Researchers at Sunderland University have said the spray, which has been successfully tested on rats, delivers insulin to the bloodstream via the nose and would be used for sufferers of type 1 diabetes.
Tests showed that one squirt of the spray reduced blood sugar levels in the rats for about 24 hours, compared to a traditional insulin injection which reduced their sugar levels for only nine hours.
Study leader Dr Hamde Nazar, a senior lecturer in Pharmacy Practice at the university, said: “Our data highlighted the potential of the formulation as a once-a-day dosage form for the delivery of insulin through the nasal route.
“This process could potentially be beneficial because it would reduce the number of injections patients would have to administer.”
The new nasal spray turns into a sticky gel, once it heats up to body temperature in the nose.
This helps it to remain in the nose long enough to be effective, and a chemical component makes it easier for the insulin to penetrate the mucous membranes lining the nasal cavity.
It is thought that about 300,000 people in the UK suffer from Type-1 diabetes, which destroys insulin-making cells in the pancreas.
Sufferers of the condition have to inject themselves a number of times during the day, to prevent the levels of glucose in the blood going too high and keep it under control.
Injections can be an inconvenience for those with diabetes as well as making them distressed and a nasal spray could be a much more attractive and painless alternative treatment.
Research led by Dr Nazar took place across the world including Lebanon, Italy, Greece and Portsmouth, and is published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal, Biomaterials Science.
Dr Nazar added: “Some people have to take up to five injections per day.
“This could replace some of those injections. Reducing the number of insulin injections could significantly improve diabetic patients’ standard of living.”