Local researchers help develop new insulin injector for diabetic children

Jan 24, 2020

A new type of insulin certified this month for use by children by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is yet another sign of the array of medications and gadgets for young diabetics helping them lead relatively normal lives.

What's called FIASP, from Novo Nordisk, was approved as University at Buffalo Jacobs Medical School, UBMD Pediatrics and Oishei Children's Hospital worked with researchers from 16 other countries and 700 kids in testing.

Kathleen Bethin, MD, PhD, led the clinical trial in Buffalo.
Credit University at Buffalo

It was described, in a Novo Nordisk release, as "the first and only fast-acting mealtime insulin injection that does not have a pre-meal dosing recommendation." It is given at the beginning of a meal or within 20 minutes after starting a meal.

Today, kids with Type 1 diabetes also wear special monitors or computerized pumps and monitor their blood sugar levels on their cell phones, while hanging out with friends. There's an app for that, hundreds of them, available to  help manage diabetes.

One UB researcher is Dr. Kathleen Bethin, a pediatric endocrinologist who works with many diabetic children. Bethin said it is still hard to be a diabetic child.

"Even though we have these conveniences like the continuous glucose sensor, sometimes they fall off. Sometimes they are just not as accurate, for whatever reason, that day. Sometimes, you have a skin reaction to the adhesive," she said.

Lucy Mastrandrea, MD, PhD, was co-investigator on the clinical trial.
Credit University at Buffalo

Bethin said diabetic kids can lead normal lives—play sports, eat the same foods as their friends and dream of top colleges—as long as they keep track of their carbohydrates with their pump or app.

Bethin says her diabetic patients can eat the same foods as their friends and play sports, as long as they monitor their carbohydrates and that's where those apps and glued-on arm monitors step in. She says fewer parents worry that their kids' lives are ruined because they are diabetic.