Vaccinations, insulin injections, or intravenous drips could one day be replaced by smart pills that inject the medicine directly into your stomach.
In research animals, the capsule delivered enough insulin to decrease blood sugar levels comparable to those created by injections in the skin. Traverso and other co-authors are co-inventors on patent applications describing oral biologic drug delivery. In 2014, Langer and his colleagues developed a pill with tiny needles that will inject the drug into the stomach lining.
Researchers took inspiration from the geometry of the leopard tortoise's shell to ensure the capsule would hit the stomach oriented in the right direction.
The tip of the needle is fabricated from practically 100 p.c compressed, freeze-dried insulin, utilizing the identical course of used to kind tablets of drugs. The needle's shaft is built from a biodegradable material that doesn't enter the stomach wall.
Throughout the capsule, the needle is hooked up to a compressed spring that's held in place by a disk fabricated from sugar. When the capsule reaches the stomach, this sugar dissolves, releasing the spring and the needle in turn.
The stomach wall has no pain receptors, so the patients would not be able to feel the prick of the injection.
When the device reaches the stomach, the capsule reorients itself and injects the insulin into the lining of the stomach. And ever since, researchers have been attempting to find ways to deliver insulin orally without any success.
"Our motivation is to make it easier for patients to take medication, particularly medications that require an injection", said senior author Giovanni Traverso.
When tested in pigs, the device worked consistently and was able to deliver equivalent doses of insulin to those required by someone with diabetes. Researchers also hope the new technology can be used to deliver many other types of medications and hormones that have been only deliverable intravenously. The leopard tortoise shell has a high, steep dome, which helps it roll back to its feet if it finds itself on its back.
"What's important is that we have the needle in contact with the tissue when it is injected", Abramson", said.
Furthermore, no adverse effects from the capsule was found, which is made from biodegradable polymer and stainless steel components. Once the insulin is released, the capsule passes harmlessly through the digestive system. A team of investigators from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital, MIT, and Novo Nordisk has pioneered a new approach that brings closer to the clinic an oral formulation of insulin that can be swallowed rather than injected.
Other authors of the paper include Ester Caffarel-Salvador, Minsoo Khang, David Dellal, David Silverstein, Yuan Gao, Morten Revsgaard Frederiksen, Andreas Vegge, Frantisek Hubalek, Jorrit Water, Anders Friderichsen, Johannes Fels, Rikke Kaae Kirk, Cody Cleveland, Joy Collins, Siddartha Tamang, Alison Hayward, Tomas Landh, Stephen Buckley, Niclas Roxhed, and Ulrik Rahbek.