If you have diabetes then you know just how much a hassle it is to inject yourself with insulin every day. I myself have a fear of needles to I can’t imagine how people are able to do it. There wasn’t any similarly effective way to get insulin but not anymore. A pill that you could just swallow may just be what all those diabetics need.
The unpleasantness of injecting yourself daily makes people skip doses occasionally and that is dangerous for a patient. Being diabetic means that the body has low levels of insulin and can’t regulate blood glucose levels. This forces the patient to take regular injections. To tackle this, these researchers from the New York University Abu Dhabi have developed a new method for packing insulin into small capsule pills.
Now, insulin can quickly break down in the stomach and we don’t want that. It would just be wasted. This is why injections are common. But the pill this team has created is allegedly able to last long enough to reach the bloodstream and only release insulin when needed.
Researchers at NYU, have developed a pill that can do just that. Last long enough to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. The team calls it the gastro-resistant imine-linked covalent organic framework nanoparticles (nCOFs).
The lead author of the study, Farah Benyettou says that “Our work overcomes insulin oral delivery barriers by using insulin-loaded nCOF nanoparticles which exhibit insulin protection in the stomach as well as a glucose-responsive release. his technology responds quickly to an elevation in blood sugar, but would promptly shut off to prevent insulin overdose and will dramatically improve the well-being of diabetic patients”.
The pill loads insulin between nanosheets and once the nCOFs are in the blood, they monitor the patient’s insulin levels using a rather clever trick. Glucose can fit through the pores of the nCOF, so as more glucose enters the pores, they dislodge the insulin contained inside and vice versa, the insulin release slows down as glucose levels fall.
Animal testing has shown that the pills were able to bring down blood glucose levels in just 2 hours. However, further research is needed to see if the same benefits trickle down to humans.
The name is sick though.