Novel pill could replace injections to deliver insulin : Study

Diabetes

New York,
Feb 11. Researchers have developed a drug capsule that could be used to deliver
oral doses of insulin, potentially replacing injections for patients
with Type-2 diabetes, says a new study.

About the
size of a blueberry, the capsule contains a single and small needle made
of compressed insulin, which is injected after the capsule reaches the stomach.

The study
showed that the capsule could deliver enough insulin to lower blood sugar
to levels comparable to those produced by injections given through skin. They
also demonstrated that the device can be adapted to deliver other protein
drugs.

“We are
really hopeful that this new type of capsule could someday help diabetic
patients and perhaps anyone who requires therapies that can now only be given
by injection or infusion,” said Robert Langer, Professor at the Koch
Institute for Integrative Cancer Research in Britain.

The tip of
the needle is made of nearly 100 per cent compressed, freeze-dried insulin.

When the
capsule is swallowed, water in the stomach dissolves the sugar disk, releasing
the spring and injecting the needle into the stomach wall.

The stomach
wall has no pain receptors, so the patients would not be able to feel the prick
of the injection. To ensure that the drug is injected into the stomach wall,
the researchers designed their system so that no matter how the capsule lands
in the stomach, it can orient itself so the needle is in contact with the
lining of the stomach.

The
findings, published in the journal Science, showed that the researchers could
successfully deliver up to 300 micrograms of insulin.

More
recently, they have been able to increase the dose to 5 milligrams, which is
comparable to the amount that a patient with Type-2 diabetes would need to
inject.

Furthermore,
no adverse effects from the capsule was found, which is made from biodegradable
polymer and stainless steel components.

Importantly,
this type of drug delivery could be useful for any protein drug that normally
has to be injected, such as immunosuppressants used to treat rheumatoid
arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease and may also work for nucleic acids
such as DNA and RNA, according to the researchers.

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