Egg yolk-based insulin could extend shelf life, mean cheaper treatment for diabetics

January 13, 2020

Australian researchers have recently developed a stable, egg yolk-derived insulin that could significantly change a diabetics’ treatment – the product is known as glycoinsulin and does not form fibril clumps as in regular insulin pumps. These pumps must be replaced frequently to avoid the risk of dangerous blockages and under-dosing, often meaning increased workload for the patient to manage their disease. The team at Melbourne’s Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health (Florey) worked on the novel pump idea with partners at Osaka University in Japan, which showed promising results in early trials.

“Using egg yolk as a rich source of homogeneous sugar allowed us to explore the effect of chemically positioning the sugar on the insulin molecule to address fibrillation without impacting on its activity,” explains Florey’s Associate Professor Akhter Hossain. He added that the glycoinsulin was also “more stable in human serum than native insulin.”

While there is much to evaluate before the glycoinsulin is commercially available, the compound could very well improve the shelf life of insulin products: the researchers estimate that if the longevity of insulin could be extended from about two days to six, it could save billions worldwide, and provide a safer alternative for diabetics.

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Category: Education, Features

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