Gel-like material hints at oral insulin pill for diabeticsApril 23rd, 2008 - 1:01 pm ICT by admin
London, April 23 (ANI): Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin, US have reported the development of a gel-like material that could help quicken the long-awaited advent of insulin that can be taken in a pill by mouth, rather than with injections.
In the report, Nicholas A. Peppas and colleagues show that acid in the stomach destroys insulin, preventing its administration by mouth. Many different research groups worldwide are searching for ways to overcome that difficulty. However, an ideal material for safe, effective oral delivery remains elusive.
But now the Texas researchers have described a promising candidate in the form of a polymer hydrogel that responds to changes in pH levels.
Pills made from the new material could also deliver other protein-based drugs, such as human growth hormone, that must be protected from being digested in the stomach, the researchers said.
“A big difficulty with type I diabetes is insulin must be [injected] two to three times a day,” New Scientist magazine quoted Peppas, as saying.
“It has been a Holy Grail, not only to deliver insulin orally, but also other drugs that can [only] be taken by injection,” he added.
The team created a new water-based gel using nanoparticles of two polymers. When formed into particles around 100 nanometres across and combined with water, the polymers form a flexible hydrogel that can soak up insulin.
In lab tests, insulin-loaded gel was subjected to conditions simulating the passage through the stomach and into the gut. It was able to tackle acidic stomach-like conditions for an hour, hardly leaking any insulin.
When put into less acidic conditions like those found in the intestines, the polymer chains changed shape to make the hydrogel swell and release its payload.
The gel is also designed to stick onto the intestine wall, buying time to deliver its insulin payload. An outer coating, composed of a wheat-germ protein called agglutinin, forms structures that grab hold of intestinal cells, the team explained.
“These tethers recognise the cells in the upper small intestine and they stick there,” Peppas said.
The sticky coating has been tested on pig intestine cells, and should give the gel the 20 or 30 minutes needed to release the drug, he added.
He further revealed that animal trials of the gel are planned to start soon.
“This is a significant advance, that shows great potential for improved delivery of insulin,” says Cato Laurencin of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, US.
“Both the new materials and the studies demonstrating the promise are highly significant and exciting, he added. (ANI)
- Insulin pills for diabetics may make painful jabs history - Jun 03, 2010
- Insulin pills may replace needles - Jun 03, 2010
- Ideal Cures to launch new tablet coating product in Geneva - May 21, 2012
- New technology may free diabetics from daily injections - Aug 14, 2012
- Nanotechnology could help smuggle drugs into the gut - Nov 05, 2010
- Injectable gel to heal damaged hearts - Feb 22, 2012
- Scientists closer to making transplantable tissue in lab - Jan 13, 2011
- Biocompatible gel to replace damaged cartilage - Sep 06, 2012
- Friendly bugs can now be delivered safely to guts - Sep 06, 2011
- Tummy out after pain killers? Kolkata scientists find a cure - Aug 29, 2012
- Novel hydrogel regenerates burnt skin tissues - Dec 14, 2011
- Ideal Cures gets US patent for pharma coating technology (With Images) - Mar 27, 2012
- 'Lab on a chip' micro rheometer to improve viscosity tests dramatically - Sep 02, 2010
- Nano bubblegum to enhance drug delivery in the gut - Nov 10, 2009
- Chewing your way to weight loss - Nov 22, 2011
Tags: acidic conditions, agglutinin, buying time, holy grail, human growth hormone, insulin pill, nanoparticles, new scientist magazine, oral delivery, oral insulin, peppas, ph levels, polymer chains, polymer hydrogel, promising candidate, texas researchers, type i diabetes, university of texas at austin, water based gel, wheat germ