2.3. Summary

We find then that insulin is a large molecular weight molecule, a protein. The fact that it is a protein and a hormone, means that it must maintain its tertiary structure to remain active. The ideal drug delivery system will protect this fragile molecule from degradation by physical or enzymatic agents, enable it to get to the receptor where it will act, and deliver it in metered doses in response to elevated blood glucose levels. The current method of delivery is by intramuscular injection. Diabetics must take and insulin shot three or four times a day, and regulate their diet very strictly. Even with the advent of sophisticated monitoring devices with which the diabetic can monitor blood glucose levels in a small drop of blood, the system still results in wide swings of blood glucose levels, swings that are not found in the non diabetic person, and which have been implicated in the many health problems that face diabetics such as kidney failure, and blindness.

Further Reading Suggestions

Shuler, M.L. and Kargi, F., Bioprocess engineering part 2.2. Prentice Hall 1992
Lehninger, A.L., 3rd ed. Worth publishers New York

Questions you should be able to answer

Questions you should be able to answer with a little library research