UA professors look to help diabetics

” Dr. Joseph Kennedy, Professor of Polymer Science and Dr. Mukerrem Cakmak, Professor of Polymer Engineering have recently been awarded the NorTech Innovation Award. Cakmak and Kennedy won the NorTech Innovation Award due to their invention of a bio-artificial pancreas.”

Dr. Joseph Kennedy, Professor of Polymer Science and Dr. Mukerrem Cakmak, Professor of Polymer Engineering have recently been awarded the NorTech Innovation Award.

Cakmak and Kennedy won the NorTech Innovation Award due to their invention of a bio-artificial pancreas. An article prepared by Cakmak and Kennedy’s research department. The ultimate objective of the of the invention is to correct insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in humans.

According to the NorTech Innovation Award Web site, The NorTech Innovation Awards program honors the achievements of companies, entrepreneurs, universities and nonprofit organizations throughout our region who have taken their creative concepts from vision to realities which are impacting our everyday lives.

The NorTech Innovation Award is given out annually to companies in Northeast Ohio. In addition to Kennedy and Cakmak, ten others won the award.

This new device will be helpful because it will deliver the needed amount of insulin, so that the painful and multiple times daily prick testing and self-injections becomes unnecessary.

Both professors were very surprised when they won the award. Cakmak says that their invention will help people with type I juvenile diabetes.

Diabetes is a very common problem and this invention will not solve the problem of diabetes, but will help those who suffer from this disease. The research article stated that currently 23.6 million adults and children are affect by diabetes with a growth rate of about 8 percent. Type I diabetes accounts for five to 10 percent of the cases.

Cakmak believes this award will benefit The University of Akron because it certainly calls attention to the excellence in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering.

While Kennedy has been working on the bio-artificial pancreas for about 20 years, Cakmak came on board about 3.5 years ago. Cakmak adds, I developed a novel nanomanufacturing technology to enhance its mechanical integrity of these membranes in a swollen state. This allowed the development of a workable bioartifical pancreas device. It was a true collaborative effort between Polymer Chemistry and Engineering.

This project is the most meaningful project I have ever worked with. If successfully commercialized after human clinical testing, it will have direct impact on the quality of lives of people with type I diabetes while extending their life expectancy. This is the most exciting part of this development, Cakmak said.