(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
Researchers have developed microneedle pills for drug delivery ensuring
perfect localization and permeation that are necessary essentials of orally
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
The needle shaft is made of biodegradable polymer and does not enter the
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.