US researchers have recently developed an oral insulin capsule that is expected to replace subcutaneous injections for daily use in patients with type 2 diabetes.

According to a study published in the American journal Science published, the capsule is about the size of a blueberry. A small needle in the capsule can "inject" the drug into the blood vessel under the stomach wall. Animal experiments show that it The hypoglycemic effect is comparable to subcutaneous injection.

Studies have shown that the needle consists of a pure freeze-dried insulin tip and a biodegradable needle bar that is attached to a compression spring that is wrapped in sugar. When the water in the stomach dissolves the sugar, the spring is released, and the tip of the needle is inserted into the stomach wall without pain nerves. After about one hour, it is completely released into the blood, and the injection of the stomach wall avoids the acidic gastric juice to degrade the insulin. The spring and other parts of the capsule can eventually be expelled through the digestive system.


Image from American Association for the Advancement of Science

The researchers also benefited from the ability of the leopard tortoise to “self-reset”. This tortoise from Africa has towering tortoiseshells that can be retracted after being turned over, so the researchers designed the shape of the capsule so that it could Adjust the position in the stomach to ensure that the needle tip can always successfully penetrate the stomach wall.

The researchers' experiments on pigs showed that the capsule successfully delivered 300 micrograms of insulin, and they later increased the dose to 5 milligrams, which is equivalent to the insulin dose required for type 2 diabetic patients.

One of the authors, Harvard Medical School assistant professor Giovanni Traverso, said that patients in the future are expected to get a more relaxed way of taking drugs, especially for those who need injections, insulin is only a typical example, many Other drugs are expected to apply this method.

Next, the researchers will continue the animal experiment and try to conduct human trials on the capsule.