Product Spotlight

By Steve Barrett
Thursday, March 1, 2018

Artificial Beta Cells

Research at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University could lead to more patient-friendly treatments for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Scientists have created artificial cells to handle the job of beta cells in the pancreas that ordinarily secrete insulin. The hope is that the artificial cells could be introduced into diabetes patients by use of a disposable, painless skin patch and triggered to release insulin automatically when patients’ glucose levels rise, according to a UNC news release.

Diabetic mice that lacked beta cells saw rapid normalization of their blood glucose levels during testing. Those levels were sustained up to five days.

More than 6 million Americans treat diabetes with insulin via mechanical pump or injection, according to the release.

The findings appear in Nature Chemical Biology.


With workers who perform certain overhead tasks up to 4,600 times per day, Ford is testing a new exoskeletal technology designed to reduce the likelihood of injury or fatigue.

Vehicle assembly line workers are testing the EksoVest, a lightweight, wearable device developed as a result of a partnership between Michigan-based Ford and Ekso Bionics, based in California.

The EksoVest raises and supports an employee’s arms during overhead work and fits workers ranging in height from 5 feet to 6 feet 4 inches, Ford notes in a news release. Adjustable lift assistance ranges from 5 to 15 pounds per arm. Workers retain freedom of arm movement while wearing the EksoVest.

Pilot testing has been conducted in two American manufacturing plants and is planned in Europe and South America as well.


Patients who take multiple oral medications daily may benefit from using Israeli company Vaica’s now commercially available medication dispenser SimpleMed+.

The telehealth-enabled dispenser allows loading of a week’s worth of medications by insertion of a multiple-medication blister pack prefilled at a pharmacy. This approach reduces the chance of incorrect loading and the need for caregiver or nurse supervision.

Visual and auditory alerts prompt patients to take their medications at the correct times. The service provider is alerted if the patient does not take his or her medication, and an alarm sounds if the patient opens the wrong dispensing compartment. Visual and audio alerts cease once the patient opens the correct compartment and takes the medication. A cloud connection eliminates the need for Wi-Fi or an internet connection.

The company notes that approximately 40 percent of hospital readmissions are related to medication non-adherence.