Glycemic control, necessary to reduce chronic complications in type 1 diabetes, often requires numerous daily injections of insulin. The discomfort associated with the use of needles often leads diabetic patients to become discouraged or even neglect their own therapeutic management.
Today, several technological developments are underway to offer alternative solutions to (multi)daily insulin injections. Transdermal delivery of insulin, a painless and simple approach, is an interesting alternative and offers several advantages such as the possibility of prolonged treatment on demand. However, transdermal delivery of insulin is limited by the low permeability of the outermost epidermal layer (stratum corneum), which only allows the passage of hydrophobic molecules with a molecular weight below 500 Da.
In this work*, we demonstrated the enhancement of stratum corneum permeability by thermal activation for insulin permeation. We developed a novel transdermal insulin delivery system that exploits the excellent electrothermal properties of a perforated gold thin film coated with an insulin-loaded graphene layer. By applying a low voltage (less than 200 mW cm-2), a stable temperature of 52°C can be reached within seconds to initiate insulin delivery. This self-powered platform can use commercially available portable battery systems. Thus, this transdermal patch, designed using a simple technology, represents an advance for the treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes for which efficient and non-invasive insulin dosing remains a major challenge.
Quentin Pagneux, Ran Ye, Li Chengnan, Alexandre Barras, Nathalie Hennuyer, Bart Staels, D. Caina, J. I. Avila Osses, Amar Abderrahmani, Valérie Plaisance, Valérie Pawlowski, Rabah Boukherroub, Sorin Melinte and Sabine Szunerits
Nanoscale Horizons, 2020, 5, 663-670. https://doi.org/10.1039/C9NH00576E