A professor at the University of Central Florida, Elizabeth Brisbois, is working to develop a cannula that can be left in place for as long as 30 days while effectively delivering insulin into the body. Cannulas are small tubes that are inserted beneath the skin to deliver insulin into the body as part of an insulin pump system. The cannula can either be part of the infusion set or attached to the actual insulin pump. Normally, over time, the body’s immune system attacks the cannula, with cells creating a film around the cannula that begins to inhibit proper insulin delivery. That is why infusion sets normally need to be changed every two to three days to reduce the risk of infection.
Brisbois’ goal is to create cannulas that have a lower risk of infection and inflammation, with reduced pain and inconvenience for patients. She and her team are developing cannulas that release nitric oxide, a molecule that can kill bacteria. Nitric oxide is also produced in the body to fight off germs and has an important role in wound healing.
This advance could significantly increase quality of life for people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Brisbois and her team are funded by a recent grant from the JDRF and are collaborating with researchers at the University of Georgia. Learn more about the cannula research here.