Medical Breakthrough: Scientists Develop Non-Invasive Ultrasound Technique to Treat Diabetes

New research has revealed that a unique noninvasive ultrasound method can treat type 2 diabetes.

Scientists have said that short bursts of ultrasound targeted at specific groups of nerves in the liver can reduce insulin and glucose levels. The research was conducted on three different animals to treat type 2 diabetes.

A team led by GE Research and researchers from Yale School of Medicine, UCLA and the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, reported in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering that a unique noninvasive ultrasound method is being designed in the study to stimulate specific sensory nerves in the liver.

Called Peripheral Focused Ultrasound Stimulation (pFUS), the technology allows highly targeted ultrasound pulses to reach tissue containing nerve endings.

The researchers said: “We used this technique to explore stimulation of an area of ​​the liver called the hepatic portal. This region contains the hepatoportal nerve plexus, which communicates information about glucose and nutrient status to the brain, but has been difficult to study because its nerve structures are too small to be separately stimulated with implanted electrodes.

The treatment was successful in three different types of animals with type 2 diabetes, mice, rats and pigs.

Raimund Herzog, a Yale School of Medicine endocrinologist working on the project, explained that if ongoing clinical trials confirm the research, then “ultrasound neuromodulation would represent an exciting and entirely new addition to current treatment options for our patients.” “.

In the study, just three minutes of focused ultrasound each day reduced normal blood glucose levels in diabetic animals. Human trials are still ongoing. The technology used to simplify and automate the systems to target the specific liver problem will need to be developed before the treatment is available. The technology used in the study requires trained technicians but is intended to be used at home for effective treatment.

Christopher Puleo, corresponding author and senior biomedical engineer at GE Research, said: “We are now in the midst of human feasibility trials with a group of type 2 diabetic subjects, which begins our work towards clinical translation. The use of ultrasound could be a game changer in how bioelectronic drugs are used and applied to diseases such as type 2 diabetes in the future.

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