Diabetes is a disease that affects millions of people around the world. For them, insulin injections are an established fact and possibly a nuisance. As a result, a team of researchers has developed an oral insulin tablet.
When glucose levels are high, the tablet automatically releases the amount of insulin needed to stabilize the system.
Diabetes exists more than you think
According to the Diabetes Protection Association of France, in 2019 40% of the French population had diabetes or earlier. Around the world, there are millions more.
This chronic disease occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or is unable to use it properly. It is a hormone produced in the pancreas that transports glucose (sugar) from the blood into the cells of the body, which is used for energy.
Now, when it misses or does not fulfill its role, blood sugar levels rise. In this sense, those diagnosed with diabetes should control these levels with insulin injections.
These constant injections are an obvious nuisance, and as a result, a group of researchers has come up with a more convenient and less painful solution.
A pill that replaces insulin injection
A group of researchers at Abu Dhabi University in New York developed a new method for packing insulin into capsules so that it could survive the journey through the bloodstream. This pill does not release the insulin load until it is really needed.
The team has created what they call nanoparticles with a stomach-resistant covalent organic structure. These capsules transport insulin between the microscopic leaves and protect it from the aggressive environment of the stomach. After that, they enter the bloodstream through the intestinal wall.
Once in the blood, NCOFs can automatically monitor a patient's insulin levels and only release them when needed.
This technique responds quickly to an increase in blood sugar, but will stop quickly to avoid an insulin overdose and significantly improve the well-being of diabetics.
Said Farah Benito, the study's lead author.
The mechanism behind this novelty takes advantage of the fact that glucose is a small enough molecule to fit into the nCOF pores. Therefore, as the levels rise, they will be pushed into nanoparticles, releasing insulin.
Although tests on diabetic mice have found that the pill works to control blood sugar levels within two hours, there is still a lot of work to be done to reap the benefits in humans.
This promising study has been published in the Journal of Chemical Sciences.