Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Oral insulin capsule developed to replace injections for diabetes patients

Oral insulin capsule developed to replace injections for diabetes patients

An MIT-led analysis crew has developed a drug capsule that could be used to ship oral doses of insulin as a method of probably changing the injections that individuals with kind 2 diabetes have to provide themselves each day.

The blueberry-sized capsule contains a small needle made of compressed insulin, which gets infused once the tablet reaches the stomach. The pill could also be adapted to deliver other protein drugs. In 2014, Langer and his colleagues developed a pill with tiny needles that will inject the drug into the stomach lining.

"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. Robert S. Langer, senior study author commented on the impact of the findings in a recent press release: "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", The microneedle within the capsule is composed of compressed, freeze-dried insulin and a biodegradable material, and is created to always land in the stomach in the same orientation. The needle's shaft is built from a biodegradable material that doesn't enter the stomach wall.

It is designed in such a way that the needle inside the capsule is attached to a compressed spring held in place by a disk made of sugar.

An ingestible injection could bypass the hazards of that journey - letting insulin absorb through the wall of the stomach, said Dr. Giovanni Traverso, a gastroenterologist at Boston's Brigham & Women's Hospital and a senior author of the study. "The device will configurate and orient itself every single time so it contacts the lining of the stomach".

Radical Insulin Delivery Pill Inspired by Tortoise Shell
Source Pixabay

The researchers are able to control the rate that insulin dissolves when they prepare the capsule. "Our motivation is to make it easier for patients to take medication, particularly medications that require an injection", explained Traverso.

In tests conducted on animals, the pill worked to deliver insulin to lower blood sugar levels as well as a typical external injection.

The researchers' inspiration was the leopard tortoise that has a shell with a high, steep dome, allowing it to right itself if it rolls onto its back. Computer models were used to experiment on different shapes for the capsule that allows it to adapt to its environment.

"If a person were to move around or the stomach were to growl, the device would not move from its preferred orientation", Alex Abramson, first author of the study published in Science, said in a statement. Once the insulin is released, the capsule passes harmlessly through the digestive system.

Furthermore, no adverse effects from the capsule was found, which is made from biodegradable polymer and stainless steel components. The team also showed it could be modified to deliver other types of drugs. They are presently working with working with pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk to develop SOMA.

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