Diabetes Advance: High-Tech Capsule Could Replace Insulin Shots

09 February, 2019, 22:12 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Pea-sized pill delivers insulin shot from inside the stomach

Patients with type 1 diabetes can possibly replace daily injections with an oral insulin pill that will deliver the drug straight to the gut.

Testing the new device on pigs shows that the delivery system functions as intended and insulin levels are almost identical to those attained by direct injection.

Several years ago, Traverso, Langer, and their colleagues developed a pill coated with many tiny needles that could be used to inject drugs into the lining of the stomach or the 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 fabricated from practically 100 p.c compressed, freeze-dried insulin, utilizing the identical course of used to kind tablets of drugs. The shaft of the needle, which does not enter the stomach wall, is made from another biodegradable material.

Approximately the size of a pea, the SOMA houses a needle made of insulin and its injection is controlled by a spring held in place by a sugar disc.

Once the pill reaches the stomach, water dissolves the disk, releasing the spring, and pushing out the to inject the stomach with the all-important insulin.

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The researchers say patients won't feel any pain from the injection as the stomach wall has no pain receptors. In the case of the capsule, the domed shape ensures that the needle is continually reoriented towards the stomach wall. But if it pans out, it might offer a work-around to make not just insulin but a variety of usually injected medicines a little easier to take.

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.

"The classic one is insulin, but there are many others", said Traverso.

The group created computer models to design a variant of the shape for their capsule, which allows it to orient itself even in the stomach.

Abramson stated, "What's important is that we have the needle in contact with the tissue when it is injected". Video credit: Diana Saville " If a person were to move around or the stomach were to growl, the device would not move from its preferred orientation", said Giovanni Traverso, also senior study author.

After the capsule has delivered its contents, the remains pass harmlessly through the digestive system.

The study, coordinated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been carried out so far only with fasting pigs, to which they first administered doses of 0.3 mg and after 5 mg of insulin, a similar amount to which patients with type 2 diabetes are injected. The researchers found no adverse effects from the capsule, which is made from biodegradable polymer and stainless steel components. MIT teamed up with pharmaceutical company Norvo Nordisk for the research.

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