Buffalo-area researchers help develop new insulin injection for diabetic children

Jan 24, 2020

Dr. Kathleen Bethin led the clinical trial in Buffalo.

A new type of insulin injection 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.

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 cellphones. There are hundreds of apps 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.

Dr. Lucy Mastrandrea was co-investigator on the clinical trial.

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 arm monitors step in. She says fewer parents worry that their kids' lives are ruined because they are diabetic.