"Smart" insulin may ameliorate hypoglycemia

Continuing the discussion from Hypoglycemia symptoms:

Welcome to TUD @anon23174612, and thanks for posting this. I don’t know from “myhealthyclick” but googling on it it looks like legit research and I think deserves to be it’s own topic, since the one you’ve put it in now is kind of old.

Here’s a link to UCLA’s own news report:

And here’s a link to the scientific paper in PNAS (subscription req’d):


The smart insulin concept has been around for about 10 years or so. While this line of study appears promising, my enthusiasm is held in check since this effort has not even been fully tested using an animal model.

I hope for the best but I’ve read this narrative before. I am thrilled, however, that this challenge has drawn the interest of some smart researchers.

Yes, I saw some posts here from several years back, so I double-checked to make sure we weren’t linking to an old press release, but this research does appear to be current. Presumably that means it’s some advance over what’s already been done, but like you say, they haven’t gotten to the animal trial stage, so…

lol. u beat me to it (I was going to post that story too). very interesting.

My memory of earlier smart insulin studies is that researchers were experimenting with coating the insulin molecule with a substances that degraded in the presence of a certain level of glucose in the blood. If blood sugar was low, not much insulin was activated. When glucose started to rise more of the insulin was released from its inactive state due to the erosion of its glucose sensitive shell.

I seem to remember that the method under study was bought by a large pharmaceutical firm and things have gone quiet since then. Did big-pharma neutralize a market threatening idea or was this concept just not ready for prime time?

Here’s one resource that summarizes the current status of smart insulin.


It notes that, “Merck is the only company to advance to human trials. The trial failed, and the company is currently trying to advance a backup candidate.”

My “wouldn’t put it past 'em” detector is tuned pretty high these days, but even so I think their market incentives are strongly in favor of finding new, patentable improvements on insulin, given that the older patents are starting to expire and they are already scrambling to fend off the threat of independently produced generics (by producing their own and still charging way too much for 'em). “No hypo” insulin would obviously be a huge benefit to everyone, taking one of the things that most makes a dx of T1 so scary off the table, and the profits therefrom would be commensurately huge, I would think.

OMG, this will be $2,000 a vial.



Yep. If it ever happens which I’m guessing it won’t. We will still have to monitor for high bg too I think.

But it would be nice to know that one of the two issues with using insulin could be avoided; namely hypoglycemia. Maybe they could even include c-peptide.

I really doubt this will happen. I’m not sure what you mean about c peptide?

Yes, I know it’s not likely to happen (at least not in my lifetime), but it would be nice to have a natural hormone back in our system, now wouldn’t it?

read this: http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/61/4/761

A peptide is a chain of two or more amino acids or proteins. When insulin is produced by the body, its precursor, called pro-insulin, is a structure of three peptide chains named A, B and C. In the last step that makes insulin from pro-insulin, the C-peptide chain is cut off.

Since this C peptide has a one to one correspondence with the amount of natively produced insulin, C-peptide can be measured in the blood and act as a faithful proxy for how much endogenous or natural insulin a body makes.

I’ve read some literature that contends that Mother Nature must have some useful function that C-peptide performs and they theorize that people with diabetes may suffer from a lack of C-peptide as well as the lack of insulin.

What do you mean “they theorize” and “may”?? of course we lack c-peptide. Medicare wants the c-peptide test to come back with a very low value in order to get coverage for a pump. I had no problem passing THAT test! :slight_smile:

Here is an article that supports that.


I am still not sure why anyone would add c peptide. I do know what it is etc.

Sorry, I didn’t get that.

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