Insulin Pill Breakthrough

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 02:34 PM

By Nick Tate

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Indian researchers say they have found a way to create what has been a Holy Grail in diabetes research: An effective insulin pill that could replace needle injections.
 
In new research published in the journal Biomacromolecules and reported by Medical News Today, a team of scientists from the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in India said they have developed an insulin pill that can be absorbed by the gut.
 
The researchers, led by Sanyog Jain, explained that digestive enzymes in the body that break down food also break down insulin before it has the chance to reach the bloodstream to treat diabetes — a challenge that has stymied past efforts to develop an insulin pill.

But Jain's team has been able to get around the problem by packaging insulin in small sacs called liposomes made of the same material as cell membranes. Liposomes are now used for other treatments, including some anticancer drugs.
 
Studies of rats demonstrated the new technique allows the insulin pills to reduce blood glucose levels in diabetic rats almost as well as insulin injections, offering hope that millions of diabetics will one day be able to take a pill rather than inject insulin.

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 26 million Americans have diabetes. Many require daily insulin shots to regulate their levels of the hormone.

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