A team of researchers developed an implantable fuel cell that uses excess glucose from tissue to generate electrical energy.
By combining the fuel cell with artificial data cells, the team produced insulin with the touch of a button. This effectively lowered blood glucose levels like the natural process in the pancreas. Given that current treatments for diabetes often include insulin pumps that require a reliable energy supply, the team feels it may have found a new way to produce that energy.
Martin Fussenegger leads the team at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. There, he serves as a professor of biotechnology and bioengineering, according to a post on the university website. Their research has been underway for years, with early test results published in Science in 2016.
“Many people, especially in the Western industrialized nations, consume more carbohydrates than they need in everyday life,” Fussenegger said. “This gave us the idea of using this excess metabolic energy to produce electricity to power biomedical devices.”
Get the full story at our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.