The scientists of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Novo Nordisk, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and Harvard Medical School, USA have developed a new pill to deliver insulin in the body.
This research was published in the Science Journal on February 7th, 2019.
Oral pills are the best way to deliver the medicines in body but insulin cannot work through the gastrointestinal tracts.
According to the scientists, the new indigestible pill can be injected in the stomach lining. It then passes harmlessly out of the body after supplying the insulin to lower the blood sugar level.
The newly developed medicine can survive the harsh enzymes and acids of the stomach. It can be absorbed in the bloodstream very efficiently.
The research was performed on some animals and it showed positive results. The drug capsule could deliver oral doses of insulin. It will replace the injections that are used by patients with type 1 diabetes.
Robert Langer, one of the senior authors of this study said, “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.”
Alex Abramson, the first author of the paper says, “What’s important is that we have the needle in contact with the tissue when it is injected. Also, if people were to move around or the stomach was to growl, the device would not move from its preferred orientation.”
In the year 2014, the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed the pill that was covered with many tiny needles. It could have been used to insert drugs into the small intestine or the stomach.
In the newly designed capsule, the old design was changed and it has only one needle. The tip of the needle is made of freeze-dried insulin which is nearly 100 percent compressed. The same process has been used to make this tablet of medicine.
The shaft of the needle is made of a biodegradable matter. This shaft does not enter the wall of the stomach.
Inside this new capsule, its needle is held with a compressed spring. It is kept in place using a disk that is made of sugar. While you swallow the capsule, the sugar disk is liquefied by the water in the stomach. It then releases the spring and injects the needle in the stomach wall.
The patients do not feel the injection because our stomach has no pain receptors. The system of the medicine is designed meticulously so that the capsule lands in the stomach and orient itself. This way the needle comes directly in contact with the lining of the stomach.
The rate of insulin sent into the body can be controlled and it almost takes an hour for the insulin to release into the body.
The size of the new pill is quite similar to that of blueberry. Researchers also demonstrated that this ingestible device can be used to transfer certain other protein drugs in the body as well.
The team of researchers is now resuming their work to develop the technology. They are looking to optimize its manufacturing process for this ingestible device.
This unique drug delivery system could be very useful for any protein drug that needs to be injected in the body. Researchers will be working for nucleic acids like that of RNA and DNA.