Oral pills for diabetes: a possibility, or a paradox?

Daily insulin shots for the direction of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes could become a thing of the past, and insulin pills could someday be another option for diabetes patient.
Insulin can be administered using a phonograph needle and syringe, a pen shot, a heart through a needle, an inhaler, an injection port or what’s called a jet injection, which sends a nebulizer of insulin into the skin at a high-pressure level.
 Yet there have been several research efforts around the public to develop pills as another way to take insulin. These efforts are ongoing, but if  there is any breakthrough for them to be safe and effective, they could modify the daily well-being of the more than 400 million diabetics, worldwide. About 40% of them rely on insulin injection .
“Insulin is currently given primarily by injections, which is a challenge for Type 1 diabetics and a deterrent for Type 2 diabetic patients to switch to insulin. An oral pill for insulin will make it easier for the patients to take insulin,” said Samir Mitragotri, a professor of bioengineering and biologically inspired engineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Development of orally ingesting insulin is still a scientific challenge because insulin can be destroyed in the stomach by the acidic medium and enzymes before it’s used in the body, Mitragotri said.
“Even if some insulin makes it into the intestine, it cannot cross the intestinal wall, since the wall is designed to prevent the transport of proteins,” Mitragotri said.
“The mucus layer present on the wall of the intestine also makes transport of insulin from the intestine into the bloodstream very challenging,” he said. “Collectively, these hurdles make oral delivery of insulin very difficult.”
However, there is still hope for some sort of alternative being discovered, after all, science is all that we look up to.


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