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Cutting-Edge Insulin Delivery Systems

Insulin, “a hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar levels by assisting the transport of glucose from the blood into neighbouring cells,” has traditionally been self-administered by diabetics via an injection in the abdomen. In 2021, the centennial of the discovery of insulin, we take a look at this amazing hormone and just how far insulin delivery has come.  

Early Extraction and Experiments  

In 1921, insulin was first isolated, removed from a subject’s body and used on another subject with diabetes. When tested on animals and humans, insulin samples were successful in lowering recipients’ glucose (blood sugar) level. This success spurred the mass production of insulin by pharmaceutical companies, who used animal insulin as a foundation until a synthetic version was developed. Insulin produced outside a living body has saved the lives of countless diabetics.  

Problems With the Pancreas  

The pancreas, a gland that produces insulin, is part of the body’s endocrine system. When a person has Type 1 diabetes, their pancreas does not create insulin. In Type 2 diabetics, the pancreas either doesn’t create a sufficient amount of insulin or the body doesn’t use it correctly. Modern insulin delivery efforts have centered on creating a type of “artificial pancreas” located outside the body but still able to deliver insulin as needed. 

The Latest Insulin Delivery Systems 

As new automated technologies focused on automatic insulin delivery (AID) and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) emerge, the days of having to inject oneself with insulin multiple times daily are in the past for many diabetics. The inconvenience of dealing with needles while at work or running errands has driven the development of devices such as insulin pumps: compact devices capable of delivering a constant supply of insulin through the skin near the abdomen via a small tube or catheter. They can be attached to a belt, an armband or under clothing.  

Let’s look at some of these modern methods of insulin delivery and how they have made staying healthy more convenient for diabetics: 

First Automated Insulin Delivery System 

Just a few short years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the first automated insulin delivery device, known as the MiniMed 670G. This was essentially the artificial pancreas diabetics had been hoping for, though it did not cure diabetes so much as streamline treatment. The device has a small needle that monitors glucose levels 24/7 and a pump that provides an insulin boost as needed.  

First Pediatric Automated Insulin Delivery and Monitoring System 

While previous insulin delivery technology was geared toward teen and adult diabetics, in 2020 the FDA approved a device that would provide automated insulin delivery and monitoring for diabetics from ages 2 through 6. The MiniMed 770G allows young children to receive their insulin doses when they’re at daycare or otherwise away from their parents. It’s also beneficial in situations where children may resist receiving injections.  

Improved Glycemic Control 

Receiving insulin is not without its dangers. If the dose is too high, it can trigger hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can cause seizures or even death. Among teens and young adults living with Type 1 diabetes, Medtronic’s Advanced Hybrid Closed-Loop (AHCL) system has offered greater control over blood sugar levels than previous AID equipment. 

Tubeless and Tapped In 

AID equipment in development, planned for or already available in 2021 includes less intrusive tubeless models, Bluetooth-enabled devices and pumps that deliver instant information to mobile apps. 

Build Expertise in Endocrine System Function and Beyond 

The University of Florida’s acclaimed College of Medicine offers online graduate degree and certificate  programs with courses dedicated to the endocrine system and other systems of the human body. All programs are delivered entirely online through a virtual classroom that enables you to complete coursework at your own pace, from almost any location. No campus-based classes are required. 

Master of Science in Medical Sciences with a concentration in Medical Physiology and Pharmacology 

Our online master’s degree in medical physiology and pharmacology provides comprehensive scientific knowledge about how the human body’s major systems relate to physiology and pharmacology. In addition, our program prepares you for National Board, MCAT and other important exams required for medical school admission and career advancement. 

If you’ve already earned a Graduate Certificate in Medical Physiology with a specialization in Cardiovascular/Renal Physiology or a Graduate Certificate in Medical Physiology from UF, you’re halfway to completion of your master’s degree. Our master’s degree program requires 30 credits and lets you transfer up to 15 credits from either of those graduate certificate programs. As a student in our master’s degree program, you’ll also be able to: 

  • Complete courses anywhere, at your own pace. 
  • Skip the GRE. 
  • Build clinical knowledge that can set you up for success in medical school. 
  • Collect your degree in as little as one year. 
  • Apply for financial aid, if needed. 
  • Add a respected education credential to your resume. 

Graduate Certificate in Medical Physiology 

This graduate certificate program investigates the basics of medical physiology and explores the various systems of the human body. You can complete this 9- to 14-credit program in as little as one semester.  

Graduate Certificate in Medical Physiology with a specialization in Cardiovascular/Renal Physiology 

This 12-credit graduate certificate program delivers advanced instruction in cardiovascular and renal physiology and pathophysiology research that will help you in a clinical setting. 

Develop your expertise about the systems of the human body in one or more of the University of Florida’s online medical physiology programs.