It may be still far from reality, but the very idea is bound to gladden diabetics. Scientists have announced the possibility of administering insulin orally//, instead of the common injections.
At, present insulin is given via injections or via inhalation like Exubera, a recent invention.
Scientists from Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University have published results of their study in the journal Biomacromolecules.
They detail how blood glucose levels of male lab rats were reduced with the ingestion of a solution containing specially packaged insulin.
The scientists reported using a chemical called chitosan derived from shrimps, crabs or lobsters, to coat insulin. These were then made into very tiny nanoparticles.
The chitosan -shelled insulin was found to escape attack by stomach acids and the particles were very tiny enough to be absorbed into the blood, by cells lining the small intestines. Reduced blood sugar levels of the rats proved the efficacy of the method.
Chitosan, a natural carbohydrate, is both nontoxic and biocompatible.
Insulin, like other protein molecules is attacked and broken down by stomach acids, making oral administration of insulin impossible. Hence this study offers hope for the oral administration of other protein drugs, too.
Says lead researcher Hsing-Wen Sung, "Multiple daily injections of insulin are currently the standard treatment for insulin-dependent diabetic patients. An oral drug would be by far the most convenient and comfortable way of delivering insulin."
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