Economy

Amrita University develops indigenous insulin pump

| Updated on: Dec 10, 2011

Amrita University, among the largest private universities in South India has indigenously developed a low-cost insulin pump for diabetic patients. The university is in talks with two bio-medical devices companies for commercially producing the pump.

The university claims that the pump will cost just 10 per cent of the current market price.

Patients suffering from chronic diabetes, require insulin injections at regular intervals during the day. The diabetic pump is an alternative to the injection. It is a small medical device about the size of cell phone, which the patient has to wear around his body. From the device a small needle is inserted into the patient's body just below his skin and the medicine is delivered. It works similar to a saline drip. The sensors in the pump detect the insulin level, in the patient's body and deliver the accurate dosage automatically.

Currently, such imported pumps are available in the market but cost about $6,000 (Rs 3 lakh). The university has taken up the challenge of reducing the cost and making it available at $600 (about Rs 30,000).

Dr Bipin Nair, Dean of School of Biotechnology at Amrita University, said insulin pump treatment for diabetes is considered “gold standard,” especially for those with type-one diabetes. But, increasingly, type-two diabetes also requires insulin pump therapy. “In spite of the medication and changes in lifestyle, at times patients cannot control diabetes. In such cases, the pump comes in handy,” he said.

He said that the university started developing the pump in 2006, using indigenous materials and technology. The technology has been granted a patent by the US patent office, while patenting process with the Indian office is under way. The device is not on Drug Controller General of India's schedule list, meaning a clearance is not required, but the University will not commercialise it as drug regulation in the country is changing. “As and when the new regulations will come in, we will match the requirements. But it is difficult to give the exact date of commercialisation. It could take two years,” Dr Nair said.

rahulw@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 10, 2011

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