Revolutionary capsule might finish want for each day diabetes jabs


Scientists have developed a breakthrough capsule that automatically releases insulin once swallowed if blood sugar levels get too high. It could replace traditional injections for type 1 people, which are difficult to self-administer and can cause people to skip doses.

The technology developed by researchers at New York University Abu Dhabi would help fight the disease – the seventh leading cause of death worldwide.

Diabetes is characterized by inconsistent levels of the hormone insulin, but developing a pill has been difficult because insulin is fragile.

It is broken down by stomach enzymes before entering the bloodstream where it is needed.

The challenge was to find a way to package insulin so that it could survive the journey through the stomach.

Researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi believe they solved the problem by creating a framework of tiny organic particles that can withstand the body’s efforts to digest them.

Amazingly, these capsules actually protect the insulin from the harsh environment of the stomach so that it can be safely transported into the bloodstream.

Once in the blood, the particles can automatically monitor a person’s insulin levels and only release the drug when it’s needed.

According to Diabetes UK, more than 4.8 million people have diabetes in the UK, with around 8 percent having type 1.

Dr. Farah Benyettou, research chemist and lead author of the study, said, “Our work uses insulin-laden nanoparticles that have insulin protection in the stomach and a glucose-responsive release.

“This technology reacts quickly to increases in blood sugar.

“But it would shut down immediately to prevent insulin overdose and dramatically improve the wellbeing of diabetics.”

In tests on diabetic rats, the research team showed that the pills normalized blood sugar levels in the animals within two hours of ingestion.

Further work will now examine the implementation of the technology in humans.

The study was published in the latest issue of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemical Science journal.