Researchers have devised an innovative biochemical formula of mineralized compounds that interacts in the bloodstream to regulate blood sugar for days at a time. In a proof-of-concept study performed with mice, the researchers showed that the biochemically formulated patch of dissolvable microneedles can respond to blood chemistry to manage glucose automatically.

The base of the experimental patch is material called alginate, a gum-like natural substance extracted from brown algae. It is mixed with therapeutic agents and poured into a microneedle form to make the patch.

The team infused the alginate with a formula of biochemical particles that stimulates the body’s own insulin production when needed and curtails that stimulation when normal blood sugar concentration is reached. The responsive delivery system of the patch can meet the body’s need for days instead of being used up all at once.

The researchers demonstrated that a patch about half an inch square contained sufficient drug to control blood sugar levels in mice for a week. The patch would need to be altered for application on human skin, likely requiring longer needles.