When a Type II diabetic patient injects insulin daily, it is undeniable that the route is an invasive one. To make the administration of insulin easier, a team of scientists developed a diabetic drug in capsule form (insulin pill). It administers insulin through the oral route, directly into the digestive system. This drug will possibly take the place of insulin injections.
A research team led by MIT has come up with a drug that could possibly deliver insulin through the oral route. This drug could replace the tedious insulin injections that patients with Type II diabetes have to administer to themselves every day.
The said drug is approximately the size of a blueberry. It contains a minute needle, filled with compressed insulin. The capsule, once it reaches the stomach, injects the insulin. This drug delivery device can also be used for other essential protein drugs.
The team was inspired by the leopard tortoise, which has a self-orientation feature. The African tortoise is able to correct itself if it accidentally rolls onto its round back because of its steep-domed shell. With computer modeling, the scientists were able to construct a shape for the capsule, similar to the tortoiseshell. The capsule reorients itself despite the ever-changing conditions in the stomach. By the time the capsule reaches the stomach, the needle would be in contact with the tissue. Even if the patient’s stomach rumbles, or if the person moves about, the capsule would not shake off from its established position.
The moment the needle’s tip penetrates into the wall of the stomach, the insulin disperses and dissolves at a controllable rate, set by the researchers upon the capsule’s preparation. In the study performed, it took about sixty minutes for all the insulin to be administered completely into the subject’s bloodstream.
Easier Insulin Administration
Recently, the researchers were able to administer 5 milligrams through the capsule. This is a dose that a patient with Type II diabetes would administer. After the capsule injects all of the insulin it contains, it just passes easily through the patient’s digestive system. The team found no side effects from using the capsule, which is made of stainless steel and biodegradable polymer parts.