Kishore Paknikar whom is heading the study along with Rinku Umrani from the Centre for Nano-bioscience at ARI stated "It is for the first time that oral administration of ZnO nanoparticles have shown that blood glucose levels can be reduced in both Type I and Type II diabetic rats. In addition, the in-vivo treatment could also take care of associated side-effects such as elevated triglyceride (type of fat) levels. The ZnO nanoparticles treatment is also expected to delay progression of diabetes and its complications."
For the past five years scientists have been working on developing a common drug for both Type I and Type II diabetes, whereby it is stated by Paknikar "the most important facet of this study is that patients will have to take just one pill a day to avoid or reduce the need for insulin injections,". Part of the nanoparticles when orally consumed get dissolved while rest of the particulate part continuously releases Zinc (Zn) ions into the blood stream for almost 24 hours.
Paknikar, however, claims it will be a long-time before the treatment is applicable to the consumer market (humans) - "we will go in for a trail on genetically-modified animals, which would relate to the second phase of our study. We are approaching industries for a tie-up as it will be an expensive scale-up exercise, and once the trails are successful, we will move go for human trails, but they may take about 8-10 years to complete."
In conclusion, Umrani stated "this discovery offers hope to millions of diabetics across the world, and we have earlier reported on the beneficial effects of 'jasada bhasma', which is an indigenous version of ZnO used in Ayurveda for treating diabetes. However, we have found that ZnO nanoparticles act in a far more superior manner than the indigenous treatment." The scientists have been highly cautionary in stating that the results were only preliminary, tested in the laboratory on animals and that the ZnO nanoparticles have not been made into a drug for treating diabetes. Original article available here.
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