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Breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes?
Will people with diabetes be able to do without insulin injections in the future and simply take insulin orally instead? Experts have now developed a type of pill that, after swallowing, is able to place itself on the tissue of the gastrointestinal tract and insert a tiny needle, which then delivers the required insulin.
Scientists at the internationally renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a type of tablet that passes insulin to the body through a tiny needle. This could enable treatment of diabetes without the traditional insulin injections. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Science".
Oral ingestion is preferred by patients and healthcare providers
For people with diabetes, insulin is a life-saving medicine that regulates blood sugar. Multiple needle pricks are usually required during the day when insulin is administered because diabetics need to monitor their blood sugar. These stings can be painful or uncomfortable, which is why the MIT scientists developed the new type of pill. Oral drug use is preferred by both patients and healthcare providers, said study author Giovanni Traverso of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
More research is needed
Although the novel pill technology has so far only been tested on rats and pigs, the test results showed that the animals had no complications or side effects, such as blockages in the administration of the drug or undesirable perforations in the stomach tissue. However, the device is still in the early stages of development and further testing is required. The doctors assume that the first human studies will take place within the next three to five years.
Ways of treating diabetes without injections
While the device may be one of the first to deliver insulin orally, there are other innovations in insulin delivery that are also free of injections, including Afrezza inhalable insulin and insulin pumps that stick to and release insulin from the skin. According to the American Diabetes Association, these pumps deliver insulin more accurately than injections. It has long been difficult to develop an oral route to insulin because the hormone is broken down in the digestive process. The new pill from MIT might change this in the future. It is to be hoped that anything that is currently being administered via an injection can be administered with this pill, according to the research team's conclusion in a press release from MIT on the current study results. (as)