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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 April, 2004, 08:01 GMT 09:01 UK
Insulin patch help for diabetics
Insulin supply
Diabetics regularly have insulin injections
A plaster which could transform the lives of diabetics is being developed by scientists in Wales.

Researchers at Starbridge Systems in Swansea have been given 120,000 to investigate a plaster which delivers a three-day supply of insulin.

The company was awarded the money by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta).

It is believed the UK has 1.4m diabetics but a further million are estimated to have it without realising.

Currently, diabetics who use a pump have to wear a pager-like device on their belt, attached to a catheter, which delivers insulin into the skin.

The plaster would be far more inconspicuous, consisting of a tiny pump.

Hundreds of thousands of diabetics have to undergo insulin injections everyday.

The main symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, extreme tiredness, weight loss, blurred vision and regular visits to the toilet, especially at night.

Normal life

The investment from Nesta means that Starbridge Systems will develop a prototype of the plaster.

It will release diabetics from the need to use syringes and needles
Joseph Cefai, chief executive Starbridge Systems

The company's chief executive Joseph Cefai hopes it can be used by diabetics within five years.

He said: "It will release diabetics from the need to use syringes and needles, enabling them to continuously infuse insulin. They'll be able to lead a normal life."

The plaster may also be used to help people undergoing fertility treatments.

Mr Cefai added: "This will be particularly beneficial to people who have developed diabetes in later years - those who are old or have poor sight or mobility.

"And, because the pump will allow them to accurately control their insulin doses, they will be able to eat, sleep, and exercise as they wish."

Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan praised the device as "one of the most exciting high-tech, cutting-edge projects to have emerged in Wales in recent years."




SEE ALSO:
Inquiry seeks more diabetes care
23 Mar 04  |  Scotland
Obesity cuts diabetic life span
17 Mar 04  |  Health
Thin babies 'face diabetes risk'
26 Feb 04  |  Health


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