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Nanoparticles: the future of diabetes treatment?

Nanoparticles have unique properties

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder affecting millions worldwide. Given its

myriad challenges, there is a substantial demand for innovative therapeutic strategies in its

treatment. The global diabetic population is expected to increase to 439 million by 2030,

which will impose a significant burden on healthcare systems.

Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin, a hormone crucial for

regulating glucose levels in the blood. This deficiency leads to increased glucose levels,

causing long-term damage to organs such as the eyes, kidneys, heart, and nervous

system, due to defects in insulin function and secretion.

Nanoparticles have unique properties making them versatile in their applications and are

promising to help revolutionise the future of the treatment of diabetes. This article will explore the potential of this emerging technology in medicine and will address the

complexities and issues that arise with the management of diabetes.

Nanoparticles have distinct advantages: biocompatibility, bioavailability, targeting efficiency and minimal toxicity, making them ideal for antidiabetic treatment. The drug delivery is targeted, making the delivery precise and efficient, avoiding off-target effects. Modifying nanoparticle surfaces enhances therapeutic efficacy, enabling targeted delivery to specific tissues and cells, while reducing systemic side effects. Another currently researched key benefit is real-time glucose sensing and monitoring, which addresses a critical aspect in managing diabetes, as nanoparticle-based glucose sensors can detect glucose levels with high sensitivity and selectivity. This avoids the use of invasive blood sampling and allows for continuous monitoring of glucose levels. These can be functionalised and integrated into wearable devices, or implanted sensors, making it convenient and reliable to monitor and to be able to optimum insulin therapy. Moreover, nanoparticle-based approaches show potential in tissue regeneration, aiding insulin production restoration.

For example, in particular, nanomedicine is a promising tool in theranostics of chronic kidney disease (CKD), where one radioactive drug can diagnose and a second delivers the

therapy. The conventional procedure to assess renal fibrosis is by taking a kidney biopsy,

which is then followed by a histopathological assessment. This method is risky, invasive, and subjective, and less than 0.01 % of kidney tissue is examined which results in diagnostic errors, limiting the accuracy of the current screening method.

The standard use of pharmaceuticals has been promising but can cause hypoglycaemia,

diuresis, and malnutrition because of the low caloric intake. Nanoparticles offer a new

approach to both diagnosis and treatment and are an attractive candidate for managing CKD as they can carry drugs and enhance image contrast, controlling the rate and location of drug release.

In the treatment of this multifaceted disease, nanoparticle delivery systems seem to be a

promising and innovative therapeutic strategy, with the variety in the methods of delivery.

The range of solutions that are currently being developed are promising, from enhancing the drug delivery to monitoring the glucose level, to direct tissue regeneration. There is immense potential for the advancement of nanomedicines, helping improve patient outcomes, the treatment efficacy, and allowing the alleviation of the burden and side effects of the disorder. With ongoing efforts and innovation, the future treatment of diabetes can be greatly helped with the use of nanoparticles, and these advancements will improve strategies for the management and future treatment of diabetes.

Written by Saanchi Agarwal

Related articles: Pre-diabetes / Can diabetes mellitus become an epidemic? / Nanomedicine


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