Health Care

New Diabetes Pill Prototype Contains a 'Needle' of Insulin

New Diabetes Pill Prototype Contains a 'Needle' of Insulin”

The blueberry-sized capsule could replace the daily injections taken by type 2 diabetics by injecting insulin in the stomach painlessly. Then, they measured the amount of insulin and PEO combination that made it into the blood and measured the blood glucose level in five different animals.

In 2014, Langer, visiting scientist Giovanni Traverso, and their colleagues developed a similar pill, coated with many tiny needles that could inject drugs into the lining of the stomach or small intestine.

"The scientific principles underlying the SOMA system, and the system itself, have the potential to enable oral delivery of large molecules such as peptides, proteins, and nucleic acids", said co-corresponding author Robert Langer, Institute Professor from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

The tip of the needle is made of almost 100 percent compressed, freeze-dried insulin, using the same process used to form tablets of medicine. The needle's shaft is built from a biodegradable material that doesn't enter the stomach wall. In the new design, a disk of sugar holds a compressed spring in place that is attached to the needle.

The abdomen wall has no ache receptors, so the researchers imagine that sufferers wouldn't have the ability to feel the injection. And ever since, researchers have been attempting to find ways to deliver insulin orally without any success. The small capsule contains a needle of compressed insulin that injects after the capsule reaches the stomach. Patients with T1D produce very little or no insulin meaning they require insulin to be administered every day to allow them to regulate the levels of glucose in their bloodstream.

The team performed initial tests in pigs and found they were able to deliver as much as 300 micrograms of insulin.

"Instead of liquid, we wanted to make it solid because you can fit a lot more in the pill in solid form than in liquid", said Dr Traverso. "Our motivation is to make it easier for patients to take medication, particularly medications that require an injection", explained Traverso. Computer models were used to experiment on different shapes for the capsule that allows it to adapt to its environment.

Abramson stated, "What's important is that we have the needle in contact with the tissue when it is injected".

"Also, if a person were to move around or the stomach were to growl, the device would not move from its preferred orientation".

The metal spring and rest of the capsule passed through the digestive system, without seeming to cause any problems.

Once the insulin is injected, the capsule and its contents (biodegradable polymer and stainless steel components) dissolve and pass through the body. MIT teamed up with pharmaceutical company Norvo Nordisk for the research.

Other authors of the paper include Ester Caffarel-Salvador, Minsoo Khang, David Dellal, David Silverstein, Yuan Gao, Morten Revsgaard Frederiksen, Andreas Vegge, Frantisek Hubalek, Jorrit Water, Anders Friderichsen, Johannes Fels, Rikke Kaae Kirk, Cody Cleveland, Joy Collins, Siddartha Tamang, Alison Hayward, Tomas Landh, Stephen Buckley, Niclas Roxhed, and Ulrik Rahbek.



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