Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new pill that could deliver insulin without the need of a needle and skin injections.
In the past, it was thought impossible to create a pill for insulin, because insulin is broken down when it enters the digestive system.
New development in oral insulin
But researchers came up with a new idea for an insulin pill. Inspired by the shell of the leopard tortoise, this pill is has a rounded shell that makes it so that the tiny insulin needle underneath always aims at the stomach wall. Once it attaches to the stomach lining, it deposits insulin into the lining.
Tests have only been done on animals thus far, but all have been successful.
The pill is about the size of a blueberry and easy to swallow. Since the stomach wall does not have pain receptors, there is not any pain involved in taking the pill. Once the insulin is injected into the gastrointestinal tract, it takes about an hour to dissolve into the bloodstream.
The new pill will go into human clinical trials over the next few years.
Other innovations in insulin
Insulin can now be taken orally through newly developed inhalers, such as Afrezza. It can also be administered through a pump rather than injection. The American Diabetes Association has said that insulin pumps “deliver insulin more accurately than injections.”
The new “needle pill” could potentially be used to administer other drugs are given by injection as well.
Taking insulin injections every day can be painful and arduous. In addition, it’s a stumbling block to taking needed needed medications. With innovations in oral insulin, diabetes management will be that much more efficient.