Novel pill could replace injections to deliver insulin, says study

MIT scientists develop a drug capsule that can deliver oral insulin

People who need daily injections such as those with Type 1 diabetes would be happy to know that researchers at the MIT have come up with a specially devised pill that could deliver injections when swallowed.

If you had a choice between injecting yourself with your medication or swallowing a capsule that contained your medication compressed into a needle which would you choose? Then, they measured the amount of insulin and PEO combination that made it into the blood and measured the blood glucose level in five different animals. Traverso and other co-authors are co-inventors on patent applications describing oral biologic drug delivery.

Some years in the past, a bunch of MIT colleagues developed a pill that was coated with tiny needles that might be used to inject medication into the liner of the abdomen or the small gut.

MIT-led research team has developed a drug capsule that could be used to deliver oral doses of insulin. The new capsule's tip is made of absolutely compressed and freeze-drilled insulin and its shaft is biodegradable too.

Throughout the capsule, the needle is hooked up to a compressed spring that's held in place by a disk fabricated from sugar. The researchers added that the patient will not feel a tinge of the injection since the stomach lining has no pain receptors. "The device will configurate and orient itself every single time so it contacts the lining of the stomach".

Scientists figured out how to hide a shot inside a pea-sized pill - creating a swallowable gadget, inspired by a tortoise shell, that can inject medicines like insulin from inside the stomach.

In their experiments, the researchers could inject up to 5 milligrams of insulin successfully into the pigs' stomach walls. They based their approach on a self-orientation aspect of the leopard tortoise, found in Africa. The insulin needle takes about an hour to dissolve into the bloodstream.

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In designing the small capsule, called a S.O.M.A., or self-orienting millimeter-scale actuator, scientists drew on the curious shape of the leopard turtle shell; that shape allows the turtle to easily right itself should it somehow topple over onto its back.

The researchers made computer simulations of the pill inside the dynamic environment of a stomach to make sure the pill had the same self-righting feature.

Abramson stated, "What's important is that we have the needle in contact with the tissue when it is injected".

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

Once the contents from the capsule are released, it passes through the digestive system without any side effects. They are presently working with working with pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk to develop SOMA.

Other authors of the paper include Ester Caffarel-Salvador, Minsoo Khang, David Dellal, David Silverstein, Yuan Gao, Morten Revsgaard Frederiksen, Andreas Vegge, Frantisek Hubalek, Jorrit Water, Anders Friderichsen, Johannes Fels, Rikke Kaae Kirk, Cody Cleveland, Joy Collins, Siddartha Tamang, Alison Hayward, Tomas Landh, Stephen Buckley, Niclas Roxhed, and Ulrik Rahbek.

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