Friday March 22, 2019

New Medicine That Could Replace Insulin Injections

The tip of the needle is made of nearly 100 per cent compressed, freeze-dried insulin. 

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The tip of the needle is made of nearly 100 per cent compressed, freeze-dried insulin. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a drug capsule that could be used to deliver oral doses of insulin, potentially replacing injections for patients with Type-2 diabetes, says a new study.

About the size of a blueberry, the capsule contains a single and small needle made of compressed insulin, which is injected after the capsule reaches the stomach.

The study showed that the capsule could deliver enough insulin to lower blood sugar to levels comparable to those produced by injections given through skin. They also demonstrated that the device can be adapted to deliver other protein drugs.

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About the size of a blueberry, the capsule contains a single and small needle made of compressed insulin, which is injected after the capsule reaches the stomach. VOA

“We are really hopeful that this new type of capsule could someday help diabetic patients and perhaps anyone who requires therapies that can now only be given by injection or infusion,” said Robert Langer, Professor at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research in Britain.

The tip of the needle is made of nearly 100 per cent compressed, freeze-dried insulin.

When the capsule is swallowed, water in the stomach dissolves the sugar disk, releasing the spring and injecting the needle into the stomach wall.

The stomach wall has no pain receptors, so the patients would not be able to feel the prick of the injection. To ensure that the drug is injected into the stomach wall, the researchers designed their system so that no matter how the capsule lands in the stomach, it can orient itself so the needle is in contact with the lining of the stomach.

The findings, published in the journal Science, showed that the researchers could successfully deliver up to 300 micrograms of insulin.

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The type of drug delivery could be useful for any protein drug that normally has to be injected, such as immunosuppressants used to treat rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease and may also work for nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA, according to the researchers. Pixabay

More recently, they have been able to increase the dose to 5 milligrams, which is comparable to the amount that a patient with Type-2 diabetes would need to inject.

Also Read: A New Hope for Acute Liver Failure Patients

Furthermore, no adverse effects from the capsule was found, which is made from biodegradable polymer and stainless steel components.

Importantly, this type of drug delivery could be useful for any protein drug that normally has to be injected, such as immunosuppressants used to treat rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease and may also work for nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA, according to the researchers. (IANS)

Next Story

U.S. Senators Launch Investigation on Rising Insulin Prices

U.S. lawmakers have intensified scrutiny on prescription medicine costs as the issue consistently polls as a top voter concern.

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A syringe with insulin. VOA

Two U.S. senators launched an investigation into rising insulin prices on Friday, sending letters to the three leading manufacturers seeking answers as to why the nearly 100-year-old drug’s cost has rapidly risen, causing patients and taxpayers to spend millions of dollars a year.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the committee’s top Democrat, sent letters to the heads of Eli Lilly and Co., Novo Nordisk A/S and Sanofi SA, the longtime leading manufacturers of insulin.

The senators pointed to similar, large insulin price increases at all three companies. Eli Lilly’s Humalog, for instance, rose from $35 to $234 per dose between 2001 and 2015, a 585 percent increase, they wrote. Insulin has been available since the early 20th century.

The senators asked for information on the process used to determine list prices and the process used to determine net prices after negotiations with pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) and health insurance plans. Their letters also asked for information about the cost of research and development, production, revenues and gross margins from insulin sales.

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U.S. lawmakers have intensified scrutiny on prescription medicine costs as the issue consistently polls as a top voter concern. Pixabay

“These hardships can lead to serious medical complications that are entirely preventable and completely unacceptable for the world’s wealthiest country,” the senators wrote in similarly worded letters.

‘Increasingly severe hardships’

“We are concerned that the substantial increases in the price of insulin over the past several years will continue their upward drive and pose increasingly severe hardships not only on patients that require access to the drug in order to stay alive but also on the taxpayer,” they wrote.

While Democratic lawmakers have launched several drug price investigations, this is one of the first bipartisan inquiries.

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“These hardships can lead to serious medical complications that are entirely preventable and completely unacceptable for the world’s wealthiest country,” the senators wrote in similarly worded letters. Pixabay

The Senate Finance Committee has the power to subpoena drugmakers.

The letters came just days before the same committee is scheduled to hold a hearing with seven pharmaceutical company executives, the latest congressional hearing on rising drug prices.

Also Read: What Does Architecture Of Houses in U.S. Tells Us About America

U.S. lawmakers have intensified scrutiny on prescription medicine costs as the issue consistently polls as a top voter concern. In January, top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee also wrote to the three insulin manufacturers asking for information on why their prices have rapidly risen.

About 1.2 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, requiring daily insulin. Type 2 diabetes, which affects nearly 30 million Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association, is treated with a variety of other medicines. But those patients may also eventually become dependent on insulin. (VOA)