(The Gist of Science Reporter) Ingestible Drug Trucks for Diabetics [APRIL-2019]


(The Gist of Science Reporter) Ingestible Drug Trucks for Diabetics [APRIL-2019]


Ingestible Drug Trucks for Diabetics

  • DIABETES is a metabolic disorder with elevated blood sugar levels in human body. It happens because either the body cannot secrete enough insulin or secreted insulin is not efficiently utilised. Hence, such patients depend on external insulin supply.
  • Researchers have established efficient insulin delivery systems, all with their own advantages and disadvantages. A wide range of drugs is available in marker that can be administered orally in treating diabetes mellitus.
  • Researchers have developed microneedle pills for drug delivery ensuring perfect localization and permeation that are necessary essentials of orally administered drugs.
  • A team of researchers from MIT and Novo Nordisk have developed a self orienting millimetre scale applicator called SOMA in short.
  • SOMA is an indigestible pill having a single micro needle with its tip made of purest and freeze dried insulin.
  • The newly developed pill is capable of injecting insulin into the interior lining of the stomach wall avoiding the attack of digestive enzymes.
  • The needle shaft is made of biodegradable polymer and does not enter the stomach lining.
  • The needle is attached to a compressed spring with a sugar disk. So when the pill is swallowed, water dissolves the sugar disk allowing the needle to inject into the stomach lining.
  • Since the stomach walls are devoid of pain receptors the new pill docs not induce any pain.
  • SOMA has been tested successfully in pigs. It has been designed ensuring that the needle perfectly injects into the stomach lining.
  • The capsule is the size of a blueberry and components are harmless and can pass through the digestive tract.
  • The self orientation is designed as a mimic of leopard tortoise reorientation ability. Leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis) has a large dome-like shell that is highly curved enabling it to stand proper even if the animal is flipped over.
  • SOMA is designed with a low centre of mass hence it can orient in a manner to attach the stomach wall on action of gravity.
  • Once the pill adheres to the gastric lining the sugar disc dissolves and provides enough force for the needle to inject into stomach wall hence localized delivery is assured. Hopefully the new drug trucks would pass human trials too and would be a boon to diabetics by replacing the conventional injectable insulin.

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Courtesy: Science Reporter


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