Millions of people, who are suffering from the condition of diabetes, greatly depend on Insulin injections. Being a protein, insulin cannot be administered into the patient’s body through a conventional pill; unlike many other drugs that can. Some patients opt for the alternative of inhaled insulin (afrezza), however it is not a very popular method. To manage the issue and making it possible for insulin to be conveniently injected directly in the bloodstream, a special pill has been developed by a team of researchers from MIT, Harvard and Novo Nordisk; the leader in insulin production globally, in collaboration; that attaches itself to stomach walls and performs the function of automatically injecting the drug into the bloodstream.
The pill has shown promising results after being tested on pigs. The patient has to simply swallow the pill like any other; its injection needle is positioned against the wall of the stomach. The needle is extended in a manner to hold onto the stomach in order to access the blood vasculature within the stomach. The insulin is eventually pushed through to deliver therapy.
The amount if insulin to be administered to the patients may differ. It can be customized as per the need of the patient. Once the insulin is released, the pill detaches itself from the wall of the stomach and is expelled put of the body with excrement. Is safe to assume that the pill itself might not have any side effects, considering it is made out of biodegradable polymer and small steel parts. Though the objective of designing the pill has been to deliver insulin, using the same mechanism, other protein- based drugs can also be delivered.
The functioning of the pill still needs to be optimized by the researchers so as to start manufacturing it commercially in the best way possible.