Diabetes at the moment is almost impossible to cure. But this disease lends itself well to substitution insulin therapy. The injections should be done regularly and is not always convenient. But a group of doctors from California and Boston have created an insulin pill that could significantly simplify life for patients suffering from diabetes.
The results were published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America). The fact that the insulin in the injectable form is quite dangerous and can even cause death from overdose or insufficient introduction. In other words, the dosage should be adjusted very precisely. Moreover, it may be different from different manufacturers. Therefore, scientists are trying to create a safe analogue of insulin with a similar chemical formula, or to invent a new system of administration of the hormone in the body that protects against overdose. As stated by one of the authors Samir Mitragotri,
“If you just go and drink the insulin, its molecules will have to overcome a lot of obstacles before they can enter the bloodstream. We created the product, which integrated all the necessary tools to protect insulin from the threats encountered in its path through the gastrointestinal tract.”
The tablet itself has two main parts protective shell and “ionic liquid”. The last is a mixture of special compounds (mainly vitamin B4 and geranium acid), which does not contain in its composition of water molecules. Due to low melting point, it behaves like a liquid. And if the shell protects insulin from gastric juice, the “ionic liquid” behaves differently.
In the acidic environment of the stomach it also prevents the gastric juice to penetrate, and the intestine gradually decomposes and releases molecules of insulin. Moreover, it also helps insulin to penetrate the barrier between the intestinal walls and bloodstream and stabilizes the hormone molecule, allowing the medicine to act for up to 12 hours. Now scientists plan to start clinical trials and if successful, the tablets will be sold in the ordinary pharmacies because they do not require special conditions of storage and transportation.