Pill could replace insulin jabs

on 24th April 2019

Researchers have developed a pill that can deliver insulin straight into the stomach wall, which could see the end of injections for diabetics.

When type 2 diabetes is at an advanced stage, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin. At this point, doctors usually recommend daily insulin injections to manage blood sugar levels.

However, research has cited a phobia of needles as one of the most significant barriers preventing those with type 2 diabetes from taking insulin.

A team from the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, has come up with an innovative new design for a pill that consists of a biodegradable capsule containing an insulin microneedle.

When a person swallows the pill, insulin injects directly into the stomach wall. After its injection into the stomach wall, the microneedle tip dissolves, and insulin enters the bloodstream.

As the stomach lining does not have any pain receptors, it is thought that this way of delivering the drug will be free of pain.

So far, doses of up to 5mg can be delivered using this system. Further work on the capsule system is ongoing.

The research features in Science.

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