Chinese researchers considering more ways to manage diabetes using platinum

21st July 2023

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


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Platinum continues to demonstrate its importance in medical applications, particularly in continuous glucose monitoring devices that enable people to manage their Type 1 and 2 diabetes in real-time.

Researchers from Nanjing University, in China. are exploring more ways in which platinum-based applications could potentially assist with the management of diabetes.

They are investigating the causes and possible treatment of insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes, which research indicates is caused by unstable molecules by mitochondria within cells known as reactive oxygen species (ROS).

A potential method for reducing excess ROS production, since it impacts on cell health, is through ultrasmall platinum nanoparticles, which have antimicrobial, anticancer and antioxidant properties that are embedded into liver-targeted biodegradable silica nanoshells.

It is estimated that 415-million people are living with diabetes, equivalent to one in 11 people globally. This figure is expected to rise to 642-million by 2040.

Demand for platinum in medical applications is expected to grow from 278 000 oz in 2022 to 287 000 oz this year, the World Platinum Investment Council states.

Meanwhile, Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin, while Type 2 diabetes involves the body not producing enough insulin or the body’s cells not reacting to insulin properly.

Continuous glucose monitors comprise a wearable glucose biosensor that sends information to a mobile app or other device that can read the data output from the sensor, allowing diabetes patients to keep track of their glucose levels at all times, without having to scan or take a finger prick blood test.

The glucose biosensor can be attached to either a person’s arm or stomach and it works by sensing how much glucose is in the fluid under the skin.

The glucose biosensor uses an enzyme to catalyse the oxidation of glucose to generate a current. The enzyme used in most glucose biosensors is glucose oxidase, which oxidizes glucose to gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide.

The hydrogen peroxide is then reduced to water by a catalyst, usually platinum, with the current generated being proportional to the concentration of glucose.

In addition to platinum’s use in glucose biosensors, the precious metal has a broad range of medical and biomedical applications including catheters, stents, clot-retrieval devices, cochlear impacts and pacemakers. It is also used in some cancer treatments.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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