Diabetes Advance: High-Tech Capsule Could Replace Insulin Shots

Modesto Morganelli
Febbraio 8, 2019

Injectable drugs, such as insulin and other large proteins, can be lifesavers.

For people with type 2 diabetes, could the days of having to jab themselves with a needle whenever they need insulin be over?

Scientists figured out how to hide a shot inside a pea-sized pill - creating a swallowable gadget, inspired by a tortoise shell, that can inject medicines like insulin from inside the stomach.

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.

Scientists at MIT have developed a new capsule that they say is capable of delivering insulin orally. The material itself is nearly completely made from compressed, freeze-dried insulin. When the capsule reaches the stomach of the person, the insulin is injected.

Since the capsule has only one needle, it has to be able to orient itself to deliver the injection. There are no pain receptors in the stomach, so no discomfort is felt during injection. To accomplish this, they loaded the insulin needle onto a compressed spring that's held in place by a sugar disk.

The researchers drew their inspiration for the self-orientation feature from a tortoise known as the leopard tortoise.

"As soon as you take it, you want the system to self-right so that you can ensure contact with the tissue", Traverso says. The researchers used computer modeling to come up with a variant of this shape for their capsule, which allows it to reorient itself even in the dynamic environment of the stomach. But if it pans out, it might offer a work-around to make not just insulin but a variety of usually injected medicines a little easier to take.

In tests in pigs, the researchers showed that they could successfully deliver up to 300 micrograms of insulin. The researchers found no adverse effects from the capsule, which is made from biodegradable polymer and stainless steel components. In tests in pigs, the researchers said they were able to deliver five milligrams of insulin - comparable to the amount that a patient with type 2 diabetes would need to inject.

After the capsule has delivered its contents, the remains pass harmlessly through the digestive system.

The researchers are now working on improving their capsule and determining how best to manufacture it.

Injections can be painful, cause injuries and be a barrier to people taking medication, he added.

"I'm a gastroenterologist and we often give an injection in the stomach to treat ulcers or stop local bleeding", Dr C Giovanni Traverso of Brigham and Women's Hospital told DailyMail.com.

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.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE