Insulin injections for diabetics who have to have daily shots are always a big no. One would rather prefer a pill over injections any day. It does affect the quality of life of many diabetics who need to take a shot every day for filling up their insulin scarcity. But, seems like a solution is underway or in the making. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology research team has made an invention called the pea sized insulin pill. If this invention works, then not only insulin but it can be used as a replacement for many other injectable medicines.
The research for developing insulin that can be taken orally has been going on for decades now but without any success as in market reach till date. But insulin and many similar compounds do not have the ability to complete the tough journey through the digestive system. As per a non-researcher from the Mount Sinai’s Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute, ‘’the pill is like a miniaturized rocket launcher’’.
This pea sized pill has the ability to commute through the esophagus in seconds and in minutes of swallowing it’s inside the stomach. The design is inspired by that of a leopard tortoise whose shell design helps it to flip on its back and right itself. The researchers created this miniature capsule of similar shape with a weighted bottom so it can roll in the correct direction to latch automatically. It also came with a micro-injector made from dried insulin that was compressed into a sharp point. The researchers powered it with the help of a tiny spring and a sugar disk that was hardened. The pill pops after the acids in the stomach dissolve the pill has been already tested on pigs and the ingestible injection has been able to lower blood sugar levels just like standard shots do. Steven Little, the chairman of the chemical engineering department of University of Pittsburgh said that “It’s a very clever idea, that is meant to solve a very long standing problem”
The only hurdle in the research at present is that it cannot be taken over an empty stomach. Hence, presently it is could be uses instead of morning insulin shots and not post meal. Also, as the capsule is made of stainless steel and biodegradable material that floats and gets excreted, there is no harm as such. There are no side effects even if it pokes the stomach wall. Gastroenterologists have been long using needles for delivering medicines for patients. Though the medicine will take around three more years before it is tested on humans and to know how the stomach responds to it if used on a daily basis.
*sourced from the Internet