Indian scientists invent insulin tablets


sanyog jainScientists from India’s National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) have invented a pill for insulin that will relieve diabetic patients of the pain from taking insulin shots.

For years, researchers round the globe have sought a way to deliver insulin in the form of oral pills instead of shots, but have been unsuccessful because the body’s digestive enzymes break down insulin before it can get to work. In addition, insulin doesn’t get easily absorbed through the gut into the bloodstream.

To overcome these hurdles, Sanyog Jain and his team from NIPER combined two approaches to shield insulin from the digestive enzymes and then get it into the blood.

They packaged insulin in tiny sacs made of lipids, or fats called liposomes, which are already used in some treatments. Then, they wrapped the liposomes in layers of protective molecules called polyelectrolytes.

To help these “layersomes” get absorbed into the bloodstream, they attached folic acid, a kind of vitamin B that has been shown to help transport liposomes across the intestinal wall into the blood.

In rats, the delivery system lowered blood glucose levels almost as much as injected insulin, though the effects of the “layersomes” lasted longer than that of injected insulin.

These findings were published in the American Chemical Society journal and is a huge breakthrough in the field of diabetes treatment, a disease that is one of India’s biggest health challenges. By 2030, India’s diabetes burden is expected to cross the 100 million mark, against 87 million estimated earlier.


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