Scientists have created a robotic pill: it can be a lifesaver for diabetics and cope with antibiotic-resistant bacteria
A robotic tablet that delivers insulin directly to the intestines could replace multiple, painful injections for people with diabetes. It is able to deliver antibiotics, which gives hope for the fight against superbugs with the help of oral drugs. The edition told in more detail Independent.
For patients and doctors, oral administration of drugs is most desirable. Swallowing is safer, more comfortable and less invasive.
But oral medications often cannot resist stomach acid, making them less effective.
A capsule called RoboCap could revolutionize therapy. In tests, it was found that it increases insulin permeability by more than ten times. Similar results were obtained for vancomycin, an antibiotic that is usually administered intravenously.
Lead author Dr. Giovanni Traverso of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US said: “Peptides and proteins are important medicines. But the degrading environment of the gastrointestinal tract and poor absorption limit the ability to take these drugs orally.”
Pigs share anatomical, physiological, and biochemical similarities with humans, making them ideal for research.
Dr. Traverso said: "RoboCap's movements are designed to overcome barriers and help get medicines to where they are needed."
The low-cost, blueberry-sized device is made from a biodegradable polymer and stainless steel components.
It travels through the harsh environment of the stomach, resisting enzyme attacks and penetrating the small intestine's mucosal barrier and other obstructions.
Currently, many common drugs, including insulin, need to be delivered by other means.
Dr. Traverso observed: “When taken orally, the jelly-like coating of RoboCap dissolves in the stomach. The environment of the small intestine activates RoboCap. The capsule, vibrating and rotating, is cleared of mucus, which improves the payload of the drug and absorption into the small intestine. Our motivation is to make it easier for patients to take medications, especially those that require injections.”
Many diabetics need several doses of insulin daily to manage their condition. The standard delivery method is injections with small needles many times a day.
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This may not be very convenient and more difficult than just taking a pill. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 37 million Americans, or more than 10%, have diabetes.
It is the eighth leading cause of death in the US, claiming just over 100 lives each year.
Insulin is produced naturally in the pancreas and then passed to the liver, where it helps process sugar in the blood.
A person with type 1 diabetes does not produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels, if at all. All patients require some dose of insulin to manage their health.
People with type 2 diabetes (a form associated with obesity) may also need insulin preparations to increase hormone levels and control blood sugar levels.
A standard insulin injection of 100 International Units (IU) per shot. Previous insulin tablets had to contain about 500 IU for it to function properly.
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