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Indian scientists develop insulin pill for diabetics

In experiments with rats,the “pill” lowered blood glucose levels almost as much as injected insulin.

Written by Press Trust Of India | Washington |
December 21, 2013 2:38:35 am

Nearly a century after the crucial discovery of insulin,Indian scientists have developed a long-sought insulin pill that could spare millions of diabetics around the world the pain of daily jabs.

In experiments with rats,the “pill” lowered blood glucose levels almost as much as injected insulin. In fact,effects of the ‘pill’ lasted longer than injected insulin,according to the study published in the American Chemical Society journal Biomacromolecules.

For years,researchers have sought a way to transform delivery of insulin therapy from a jab to a pill,but it has been a challenge.

The body’s digestive enzymes that are so good at breaking down food also break down insulin before it can get to work. In addition,insulin does not get easily absorbed through the gut into bloodstream.

To overcome these hurdles,researchers from National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in Punjab,combined two approaches to shield insulin from the digestive enzymes and then get it into the blood.

The team — researchers Ashish Kumar Agrawal,Harshad Harde,Kaushik Thanki and Sanyog Jain — packaged insulin in tiny sacs made of lipids,called liposomes. 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 shown to help transport liposomes into the blood.

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