London: Scientists have developed an implantable gel that contains genetically modified light-sensitive cells and it can be used to treat diabetes.
Myunghwan Choi of Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues designed an implantable gel that guided light under a mouse's skin in experiments.
To control diabetes, the team shone light into the mouse and at the implanted gel using a fibre optic cable attached to its head.
The light triggered cells in the gel to produce a compound that stimulated the secretion of insulin and stabilised blood glucose levels, 'New Scientist' reported.
The team also showed they could monitor for cadmium poisoning using cells that fluoresced when the mouse was under stress from the toxin.
The gel is in the prototype stage but Choi's team is already planning to make it more user-friendly.
For example, he said, "we are thinking of adding a micro-LED with a wireless power receiver [to the gel implant]."
The research was published in journal Nature Photonics.