New insulin pill could make diabetes treatment 'painless'

IANS |
New insulin pill could make diabetes treatment 'painless' (Tuomas Marttila/Getty Images)New insulin pill could make diabetes treatment 'painless' (Tuomas Marttila/Getty Images)

US scientists have developed an oral method of administering insulin that can be a less painful alternative to millions of people worldwide with diabetes who have to inject themselves with the drug to manage their blood-sugar levels.

The team has successfully encapsulated insulin using Cholestosomes -- a neutral, lipid-based particle -- that can be administered orally with tiny vesicles that can deliver insulin where it needs to go without injecting.

The biggest obstacle to delivering insulin orally is ushering it through the stomach intact. Proteins such as insulin are no match for the harsh, highly acidic environment of the stomach. They degrade before they get a chance to move into the intestines and then the bloodstream where they're needed, the study said.

However, the new vesicles that are made of naturally occurring lipid molecules are normal building blocks of fats, the researchers said, adding that they are unlike other lipid-based drug carriers, called liposomes.

"Most liposomes need to be packaged in a polymer coating for protection. Here, we are just using simple lipid esters to make vesicles with the drug molecules inside," said lead researcher Mary McCourt, Professor at Niagara University in New York, US.

Computer modelling showed that once the lipids are assembled into spheres, they form neutral particles resistant to attack from stomach acids.