Patients with type 2 diabetes might not need daily insulin injections anymore because of a new pill that delivers the same amount of the hormone when ingested. This new technology is important to ensuring that patients take their insulin, especially for children and those who are afraid of needles.
The capsule will change a lot of lives because people living with type 2 diabetes need insulin injections everyday. Since their pancreases cannot produce an adequate amount of the hormone to break down sugar (glucose) in their blood, external help is needed to prevent any complications. Sugar is found in carbohydrates, dairy products, fruits, and many other foods, so insulin is needed to eat daily. Researchers aimed to develop an easier way for patients to take daily medications that require injections, and they have created an amazing capsule to do this.
The pill was developed by researchers at MIT, and they were able to find a way to inject insulin through the stomach instead of through a needle on the skin. By observing how a leopard tortoise is able to roll itself on its back, researchers developed a pill shape that allows it to reorient itself in the stomach. The capsule has a tiny needle made of biodegradable material, and the tip is composed of 100% compressed and freeze-dried insulin. The needle is attached to a mechanism of a compressed spring held in place by a disk made of sugar.
Once the pill is ingested, the sugar disk is dissolved by the stomach juices and releases the needle. The insulin is then injected into the stomach wall. Since there’s no pain receptors there, the delivery of insulin is painless. The pill is specifically designed to reorient itself no matter how it lands in the stomach or if the patient’s stomach growls. It takes about an hour for the insulin to be fully released into the blood stream, and researchers are aiming to improve this time.
This pill can drastically improve the lives of diabetic patients around the world. Without the need to inject insulin externally, taking the daily medication they need will become easier and less painful.