Can diabetes be treated with a pill? Scientists have developed a new pill to change the delivery of insulin. Could this pill replace insulin injections in the future?
When type 2 diabetes crosses its limit, the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin. In this case, doctors usually recommend daily insulin injections to manage a person’s blood sugar levels.
Now, researchers say that changing insulin’s delivery could make insulin treatment more acceptable.
Robert Langer, a professor at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, and his colleagues invented a design for a pill.
This pill is made up of a biodegradable capsule which contains an insulin microneedle. According to the researchers, when a person consumes this pill, insulin injects straight into the stomach wall. Their research now appears in the journal Science.
“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,” explains Langer.
The team explains that scientists originally developed microneedles to enter the skin without causing pain. These millimeter-size needles contain two parts: a tip which penetrates the stomach wall, and another is biodegradable shaft. The researchers said that the pill passes through the digestive system and doesn’t cause any side effects.
“Our motivation is to make it easier for patients to take medication, particularly medications that require an injection. The classic one is insulin, but there are many others,” explains says Giovanni Traverso, an assistant professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.