Diabetes: You Will Soon Be Able To Take An Insulin Pill To Replace The Injections

For the 300,000 insulin-dependent diabetics, who number close to 22 million worldwide, the daily batch of insulin injections may soon beco...

For the 300,000 insulin-dependent diabetics, who number close to 22 million worldwide, the daily batch of insulin injections may soon become history. In recent years, teams of researchers around the world are looking into a new method of administering insulin to patients: orally, and they may well be close to the point.

What is the purpose of insulin injections?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows blood glucose to be absorbed by the tissues, thus giving energy to the cells and allowing the storage of sugar in the form of fat in the fat cells. In people with insulin-dependent diabetes, or type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or enough insulin. These people must use external insulin if they do not want to risk all kinds of long-term complications related to hyperglycemia, such as damage to the blood vessels, nerves, retina and kidneys. Hyperglycemia can also, when it reaches extreme levels, endanger the life of the person.

Insulin injections have disadvantages
Insulin is most commonly injected under the skin with a syringe, insulin pen, insulin pump, or jet injector. In spite of their immense and unmistakable usefulness, these different administration techniques are however very restrictive for the patients whose quality of life is clearly affected by these daily and repeated injections.

A new method of administering insulin: orally
To enable diabetic patients dependent on external insulin intake to gain in quality of life, there is much research going on around the world on new ways to provide the body with the insulin it needs.

It is particularly the oral route that is favored by researchers because of its simplicity. This way, however, poses some problems for researchers, including the fact that insulin molecules are rapidly deteriorated in the stomach because of the acidity of the stomach.

Researchers at Harvard University have come up with the development of a container for insulin: a capsule made of acid-resistant material that would not degrade during digestion, releasing its content only in the small intestine.

On the other hand, "when a protein molecule such as insulin enters the gut, many enzymes function to degrade proteins into smaller amino acids. Says researcher Amrita Banerjee. A difficulty that researchers have once again managed to overcome by stabilizing insulin with an ionic solution. The solution would allow the precious hormone not to be destroyed by digestive enzymes and to enter the bloodstream.

Samir Mitragotri, professor of bioengineering at the Harvard Institute of Applied Sciences, says about this new capsule: "Our approach is like a Swiss army knife, a pill has the ability to overcome any obstacles it encounters" .

Convincing results
In tests on rats, the insulin capsule has led to an effective reduction of blood glucose. This reduction reached 62% within two hours of administration and 55% after ten hours.

An interesting effect of the capsules compared to the injections is that the result of lowering of the blood sugar level seems more durable, because when subcutaneous injection of the insulin in lower dose to the rats, their glycemia drops rapidly of 50% to go back in the next four hours.

Still a little patience
These capsules that could revolutionize the daily lives of millions of diabetics worldwide are not ready to end up on the market, because it is first necessary that the tests on other animals and then on humans are done in order to to study this method well and to make sure of its safety.
Diabetes


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Savvy Life Mag Plus: Diabetes: You Will Soon Be Able To Take An Insulin Pill To Replace The Injections
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