In South Carolina, researchers are using implantable polymer sponges into fat tissue to fight diabetes. So far, they’ve only tested it in mice, but it offers hope for people with diabetes as the implanted sponges reduced weight gain and blood sugar levels in the mice. The sponges basically “wake up” the fat by getting it to chemically communicate again, and are made of the biocompatible material poly(lactide-co-glycolide), or PLG, though they used sponges with pancreatic islet cells permeated in the past.
After three weeks of eating a high-fat diet, the mice that had the sponge implants had only gained 10% in body fat instead of the 30% gain in the control set of mice. They also had lower blood sugar levels than the control set. Researchers are now hoping to add other biomaterials like resveratrol, the red-wine polyphenol, to see if the effects can be further improved.