Diabetes Discovery: Indian Scientists Create Novel Form Of Insulin

A team of Indian scientists has discovered a novel form of insulin that could drastically reduce the suffering diabetics face in controlling their blood sugar.

For the diabetics, daily painful pinpricks to inject doses of insulin is a routine affair, now in a new discovery scientists claim a single shot of insulin could help keep sugar levels under control for more than a month. Today the effect of each insulin injection lasts at best for a day.

India is considered the diabetes capital of the world, with as many as 50 million people suffering from this chronic disease, so any new discovery is welcomed with open arms.

The team spent less than $45,000 and took two years to come with this novel solution. These scientists have already patented the technology, commercialized it and the new insulin could well become a big money spinner in times to come, feels the man who discovered this new form of insulin.

“It is a multi-million dollar technology transfer agreement with royalties once the product goes to the market and if I am not wrong it is one of the biggest scientific innovations to have come from a government owned research laboratory,” said Professor Avadhesha Surolia, Director, National Immunology Institute, New Delhi.

The researchers treated natural human insulin at varying temperatures and chemical conditions and one such special formulation does the magic. In experiments done on rats, mice and rabbits the team could control the sugar levels like of these diabetic rats simply by giving an injection once every three months.

Imagine having to do away with multiple injections everyday to control the sugar problem. The simplicity of the discovery and its huge potential has attracted immediate attention.

“Both conceptually and for clinical practice it is an exciting discovery because it uses natural chemically unchanged insulin and clinically it is useful because it provides ease for patients by reducing the number of pin pricks,” said Dr Ambrish Mithal, Diabetologist and president, Endocrine Society of India.

It is not often that new drug is discovered in India, but its use in humans could still be many years away.

The new insulin molecule discovered by Indians in India could become a blockbuster drug in times to come as it holds a lot of promise, currently being tested on animals like on rats, it will soon undergo human trials and then it may become available as drug for the treatment of diabetes.

Reported by ndtv.com

What an exciting development. Amazing that it was done for less than $45,000. Do you know if this insulin would act as both basal & bolus insulin? Curious how this works since we change doses constantly. Eager to learn more.

Would this insulin help Type 1 Diabetes, as well as Type 2? Maybe it could cover the basal needs? How soon will this insulin become available. I like the fact that this new insulin is being researched in India, as you will not need to go throught he FDA process to bring it to use. Once used in other countries, maybe that will speed up the FDA process here.

I still don’t have all the details to answer these questions…as you will see my blogpost is based on a news item on a normally reliable TV news channel…Since the report mentions India’s National Immunology Institute, New Delhi, I’ve asked for details…

This is the abstract of the research discussed in my blog post:

Supramolecular insulin assembly II for a sustained treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus

Sarika Guptaa,
Tandrika Chattopadhyaya,
Mahendra Pal Singha, and
Avadhesha Suroliaa,b,1

  • Author Affiliations

a) National Institute of Immunology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110067, India; and
b) Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore 560012, India

Communicated by William J. Lennarz, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY, May 21, 2010 (received for review May 1, 2009)


Diabetes is a chronic disease requiring continuous medical supervision and patient education to prevent acute secondary complications. In this study, we have harnessed the inherent property of insulin to aggregate into an oligomeric intermediate on the pathway to amyloid formation, to generate a form that exhibits controlled and sustained release for extended periods. Administration of a single dose of the insulin oligomer, defined here as the supramolecular insulin assembly II (SIA-II), to experimental animals rendered diabetic by streptozotocin or alloxan, released the hormone capable of maintaining physiologic glucose levels for > 120 days for bovine and > 140 days for recombinant human insulin without fasting hypoglycemia. Moreover, the novel SIA-II described here not only improved the glycemic control, but also reduced the extent of secondary diabetic complications.

…and this is the link to the Supporting Information: http://tinyurl.com/22sb9a4