This report describes the development of a long-acting insulin accomplished by the slow release of hormone from an implantable, biodegradable matrix. Rats made diabetic with streptozotocin received a single subcutaneous implant of insulin-albumin microbeads that released biologically active insulin for periods up to 3 wk. The mean fasting blood glucose level for treated animals was 88 mg/dl as compared with 392 mg/dl for untreated diabetic controls. With a mean starting body weight of 187 g, treated animals gained weight reaching a mean weight of 228 g; in contrast, untreated animals lost weight to a mean of 175 g. When insulin-albumin microbeads were periodically implanted and removed, lower blood glucose levels were only associated with the presence of the implants. The microbead implants biodegraded in 4–8 wk, thus obviating the need for surgical removal. These results suggest that a long-acting insulin may be produced by the entrapment of insulin within a biodegradable matrix.

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