New Delhi: Scientists have been able to engineer cells to produce insulin under the command of a smartphone device which help in keeping diabetes in check.
The new system developed by researchers, including those from East China Normal University, involves engineering insulin-producing cells to do their work when illuminated with infrared light.
Human cells can be genetically engineered into living factories that efficiently manufacture and deliver hormones and signalling molecules, but most synthetic biological circuits do not offer the same degree of sensitivity and precision as digital sensors, researchers said.
They placed the cells in an insulated sheath that also contained red LED lights - then, they placed the sheath under the skin of test mice.
They controlled the lights remotely via smartphone app, sending signals to a control box containing a coil that activated the lights.
The smartphone received data from an embedded blood glucose metre. The result was a closed-loop system in which the glucose metre automatically conducted glucose testing on a periodic basis.
The smartphone app analysed the data to determine when and how much insulin needed to be produced.
It then sent a signal to the control box, activating the LED lights, causing the cells to produce and release insulin into the bodies of the mice.
(With PTI inputs)