According to many, the most effective way to deliver insulin to the body of people with diabetes is annoying and laborious. Millions of people around the world must inject the vital hormone under their skin several times a day to keep their body’s glucose levels balanced.
For years, scientists have been looking for a simpler, cheaper, more convenient and less costly alternative to insulin pumps and pens. While potential oral therapies have made great strides, there are still several significant obstacles in their way. Now, a new approach seems to offer a solution to at least some of these obstacles, and the latest approach has so far been effective in preclinical experiments in mice.
With a short distance from the discovery of insulin in 1922, researchers have made many efforts to make an ingestible supplement with lasting effects from this substance; But so far their efforts have not yielded results.
Injection of insulin into the subcutaneous tissue causes slow absorption of this protein and its transfer to the liver to perform its main and prescribed work. On the other hand, when insulin is delivered orally to the patient’s body, all molecules that are not attached to each other are quickly broken down by protein-digesting enzymes.
Researchers have found that the insulin contained in a drug must be covered in protective materials to successfully pass through the barrier of these enzymes and enter the liver. This is considered to be an effective approach and works best when the insulin is in the form of nanoparticles. One of the examples of such drugs is Oramed. Oramed was safe and effective enough to advance to phase III clinical trials.
The method of oral drugs and covering insulin in protective layers has a very high potential; But the problem starts from the fact that the corresponding nanoparticles are not as stable as the chemists think. Freeze-drying them before storage helps to ameliorate the problem to some extent; But this work requires a preservative that can bulk up the tablets and on the other hand reduce the effectiveness of insulin nanoparticles.
Unlike many other experimental oral treatments, the new treatment studied by scientists in Canada is not made by freeze-drying the hormone with a cryoprotectant. Instead of freezing the insulin, the researchers of this research dried it in an evaporation chamber relying on the spray.
By removing coagulation from the mixture, the insulin particles can be made even smaller, allowing the drug to be released into the body more quickly. In part of the researchers’ research article, it is stated:
Small particles provided a large surface area; So that most of the related drugs were placed on the surface of the particles or close to it, and this led to the rapid release of the drug.
The new pill is made to dissolve in the mouth, but still needs to be protected from enzymes in saliva. To do this, the research team put the drug in a fibrous sugar called chitosan encapsulated; This is what reduces the fat and cholesterol absorbed by the body from both food and drugs.
According to the researchers, the new method of making oral insulin showed a faster relief profile in mice compared to other conventional forms made by freeze-drying. The new oral pill is quickly broken down and shows its effect on the body, and there is no need to wait two to four hours to see the effects of the drug. Alberto Baldellia particle engineer from the University of British Columbia says:
Our oral delivery pill, like rapid-acting insulin injections, is absorbed after half an hour and can last for about two to four hours.
In fact, their latest version of the drug appears to have the same effects as injectable insulin in rodents. The authors of the research paper point out that almost 100% of their drug goes directly to the mice’s liver.
These findings have not yet been published; But if the authors are right in this case, their research will still have a long way to go until the final end.
Of course, there is still a long way to go before human trials of this drug, but the initial results show that there may be other ways to realize the idea of oral insulin in the future. Chemical Engineer Anubhav Pratap Singh A chemical engineer from the University of British Columbia says:
These exciting results show that we are on the right track for insulin formulation development; A method that eliminates the need for injections before each meal and will improve the quality of life as well as the mental health of more than 9 million type 1 diabetics.
this study Published in Scientific Reports.