A team of scientists at the University of British Columbia has revealed that it is close to developing an insulin pill. Insulin is a hormone the pancreas produces. This hormone is used to control the amount of sugar or glucose in the blood. Insulin deficiency can cause increased blood sugar as well as severe health issues such as heart disease, blindness, nerve damage, kidney problems, amputation and erectile dysfunction.
Currently, the only way to administer insulin is through injections with syringes, pens or pumps. A few years ago, however, MIT researchers developed a capsule that could inject up to 300 mg of insulin.
And, results from a test conducted recently using mice models found that the insulin contained in their oral pills was absorbed by the mice just as insulin injected into the body, as no insulin was left in the stomach.
Yigong Guo, a PhD candidate involved in the project, explained that all the insulin ingested was absorbed into the liver. Dr. Anubhav Pratap-Singh, lead of the project, revealed that his inspiration for the study was his father, who is currently living with type 2 diabetes.
There are 3 types of diabetes — type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes — which develops while an individual is pregnant. Type 1 diabetes, which is also known as juvenile diabetes, is a chronic condition that impacts the ability of an individual’s body to produce insulin. In this condition, an individual’s pancreas makes little to no insulin. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes impairs how an individual’s body uses sugar.
Pratap-Singh stated that the pill his team was developing has the potential to deliver insulin effectively via a patient’s buccal region, which is in the periphery of the gums and behind the cheeks. He explained that keeping the pill in this region allowed the insulin to be delivered via a slow-release approach for between 40–45 minutes. The investigators assert that most oral insulin pills in development release insulin over a two- to four-hour period, while injected insulin may be released fully in half an hour to two hours.
B.C. Diabetes’ medical director Tom Elliott believes that the tablets could greatly benefit patients with diabetes. Pratap-Singh also revealed that their insulin tablets would reduce the necessity for insulin injections while also eliminating environmental waste generated from the plastic syringes and needles that may never be recycled.
In addition to this, the tablets could be transported as well as stored more easily in comparison to injected insulin.
Better times could lie ahead for diabetics given that lots of for-profit companies such as Aditxt Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTX) are devoting colossal amounts of resources into studying how patients with this indication can better be helped.
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