About 3.5 million people in Italy they received a diagnosis of diabetes. Many of them have to administer insulin several times a day, through subcutaneous injections. Alternatives to this method of recruitment have been sought for some time hormone that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood: injection therapy requires a good dose of experience as well as the daily availability of needles and syringes, and for its logistics it is not always accessible to everyone, especially in middle and low-income countries.
A group of Canadian researchers managed to create an oral tablet made from insulin, which allows a form of absorption of the substance similar to that which occurs with the injection. The discovery, so far only tested on mice, was published in Nature Scientific Reports.
Shortcut. Insulin is particularly difficult to take orally: being a protein, most of it is broken down as it passes through the stomach and intestines, well before it reaches the liver, where it is supposed to act by regulating the absorption, production and storage of glucose. To treat diabetes with insulin pills, it would take five times higher dosages of the hormone, because much of it would still be wasted.
This is why the team from the University of British Columbia has thought of another way of taking: not a tablet but a tablet to be dissolved between the gums and the internal mucosa of the cheek, an area sprayed with microcapillaries that allows the drug to bypass the digestive system and enter directly into the bloodstreamwhere it can be absorbed by the liver without being degraded in the meantime.
Activate quickly. Even two hours after the mice took the tablet, no insulin was found in the stomachs of the rodents, a sign that the hormone had gone straight into the target organ without going through the gastric juice trap. In addition to allowing you not to throw away precious insulin doses, this method also has another advantage: tablet insulin, as well as fast injectable insulin, is absorbed in just half an hour and remains active for two to four hours. If it were to pass through the stomach, it would have much longer absorption times for all the way it has to go.
Better for the environment too. Other benefits would be the impact on costs, accessibility and sustainability of the intake (needles and syringes pollute, moreover). Not to mention the fewer psychological discomforts for those who have to face therapy. The next step will be to test the oral tablets on humans: it will be necessary to see if they will have the same effectiveness.
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Insulin: does the oral tablet come against diabetes? – Focus.it
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