Nicer than needles: Insulin pills for diabetes finally in clinical trials

June 2, 2010

After years of research and anticipation, insulin pills that could make it easier for millions of patients worldwide to manage diabetes are finally moving ahead in clinical trials and a step-closer to the medicine cabinet. That's among the topics highlighted in a two-part cover story on drug manufacturing in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

C&EN Senior Correspondent Ann Thayer notes that drug manufacturers have tried for years to develop oral without much success. Insulin is a peptide hormone that people with currently take by injection to bring their blood sugar to within normal levels. But doing so requires uncomfortable, inconvenient injections that can make patients reluctant to use the drug frequently enough to adequately control their blood sugar. An oral form of insulin could help solve this problem. However, stomach acids and enzymes easily destroy insulin and other protein-based drugs. Scientists have had difficulty finding an effective way to eliminate this problem.

They've responded to this challenge by developing special coatings for insulin pills that prevent stomach acid from destroying them. Scientists also are using additives that make it easier for the intestine to absorb large molecules like insulin. After years of setbacks, signs of success may be at hand. Several insulin pills are now in various stages of , and proof of concept may allow them to move into late-stage and more rigorous clinical testing. Only time will tell, however, whether these much-anticipated will make it to the market.

Explore further: Toward a new oral delivery system for insulin using nanoshell shields

More information: "Nicer Than Needles", pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/88/8822cover2.html

Related Stories

Insulin pill could replace injections for diabetes

April 28, 2008

Insulin pills to replace the injections necessary for those suffering from diabetes appear closer to reality through new research by chemical and biomedical engineers at The University of Texas at Austin.

Recommended for you

Chemists solve major piece of cellular mystery

August 27, 2015

Not just anything is allowed to enter the nucleus, the heart of eukaryotic cells where, among other things, genetic information is stored. A double membrane, called the nuclear envelope, serves as a wall, protecting the contents ...

Study reveals how nanochannels select potassium ions

August 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—One of the mysteries in biology is how cells can selectively diffuse potassium across a membrane. Biological systems rely on a delicate balance between these potassium and sodium ion concentrations in the surrounding ...

Unusual use of blue pigment found in ancient mummy portraits

August 26, 2015

Mostly untouched for 100 years, 15 Roman-era Egyptian mummy portraits and panel paintings were literally dusted off by scientists and art conservators from Northwestern University and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.