Millions of people could soon be spared the pain of daily insulin injections after a breakthrough in developing an insulin pill.
Worldwide, about 420 million people suffer from diabetes and 3.7 million deaths annually are attributed to the diseases according to World Health Organization.
There are two types of diabetes.
Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder mostly diagnosed in childhood. Everyone with Type 1 diabetes has to inject themselves with insulin daily.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with lifestyle choices and is normally diagnosed later in life. Lifestyle changes may help lower blood sugar levels, but the disease progresses in some patients leaving them no option but to inject themselves with insulin.
Scientists now believe they’ve found a less painful and invasive way of administering the hormone.
They are developing a new way of delivering the medicine orally using tiny vesicles that can deliver insulin where it needs to go, without a jab.
These new vesicles are made of naturally occurring lipid molecules, which are normal building blocks of fats.
The biggest challenge to delivering insulin orally is ushering it through the stomach intact. Proteins such as insulin are no match for the highly acidic environment of the stomach.
The degrade before they get a chance to move into the intestines and the bloodstream – where they are needed to lower blood glucose levels.
One approach to overcoming the problem is to package insulin inside a protective coating to shield the protein from stomach acids.
It is currently being tested in clinical trials.
Source: Nairobi Wire