New pill can deliver insulin

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The sugar disc allows the humidity in the stomach to serve as the trigger of the micro-injection, and the solid insulin needle enables delivery of a sufficient dose of the drug. Also, the MIT-led team found that the technique can used to deliver other protein drugs too. For the brand new capsule, the researchers modified the design to have only one needle, permitting them to keep away from injecting medicine into the inside of the abdomen, the place they'd be damaged down by abdomen acids earlier than having any impact. Robert S. Langer, senior study author commented on the impact of the findings in a recent press release: "We are really hopeful that this new type of capsule could someday help diabetic patients and perhaps anyone who requires therapies that can now only be given by injection or infusion", The microneedle within the capsule is composed of compressed, freeze-dried insulin and a biodegradable material, and is created to always land in the stomach in the same orientation. The shaft of the needle, which does not enter the stomach wall, is made from another biodegradable material. To power it, researchers bound a tiny spring to a hardened sugar disk. The sugar dissolves when it hits gastric juice, which releases the spring and injects the insulin into the stomach lining. The article further notes the stomach lining is almost nerve free, so patients will feel no pain from this delivery mechanism. And ever since, researchers have been attempting to find ways to deliver insulin orally without any success. The insulin needle then injects insulin through the stomach lining; the insulin is then absorbed into the blood stream.

When tested in pigs, the device worked consistently and was able to deliver equivalent doses of insulin to those required by someone with diabetes. The capsule's shape is inspired by the characteristics of the shell that allow the tortoise to right itself if it rolls over on its back.

The team, from Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says this localized approach is more pleasant to take, easier to carry around and less expensive than traditional injections.

"If a person were to move around or the stomach were to growl, the device would not move from its preferred orientation", Alex Abramson, first author of the study published in Science, said in a statement.

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Once the insulin is injected, the capsule and its contents (biodegradable polymer and stainless steel components) dissolve and pass through the body.

The metal spring and rest of the capsule passed through the digestive system, without seeming to cause any problems. They are presently working with working with pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk to develop SOMA. In their study, it took about an hour for it to be fully released into the bloodstream. The team also showed it could be modified to deliver other types of drugs.

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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