The invention of a capsule that transports insulin to the intestines of diabetic patients instead of painful injections

30 September, 2022
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The invention of a capsule that transports insulin to the intestines of diabetic patients instead of painful injections

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a robotic drug delivery capsule that can replace painful multiple injections for diabetics and deliver insulin directly to the intestine.

This technology can also deliver antibiotics, offering hope of fighting superbugs with oral medications.

Oral treatments are safer, more convenient and less intrusive for patients and doctors, but oral medications often cannot withstand stomach acid before delivering their intended effects, making them less effective.

In tests in pigs, insulin permeability was increased more than tenfold. Similar results were seen for vancomycin, an antibiotic usually given intravenously. Lead author Dr. Giovanni Traverso, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, said: "Peptides and proteins are important drugs. But the degraded gastrointestinal environment and malabsorption limit the ability to give these drugs orally."

"The RoboCap was designed to filter and shrink mucus to overcome these barriers and help get drugs where they are needed," Dr. Traverso noted.

This inexpensive device, about the size of a raspberry, is made of biodegradable polymer and stainless steel components.

Currently, many common medications, including insulin, must be delivered by other means.


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