Insulin pill that could replace daily injections

Tuesday 08th October 2019 19:16 EDT

Millions of patients living with diabetes could finally be spared from having to inject themselves with insulin.

For Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have now created a capsule strong enough to survive stomach acid. 

Attempts to give patients insulin in pill form have all failed because they crumble in the acid and release the hormone too early.

But scientists have created a 1.18-inch (30mm) capsule tough enough to cope with the harsh environment, according to trials on pigs.

Charities have today praised the research, calling it 'exciting' and saying it could 'be a real benefit for millions'. 

The capsule escapes unscathed through the digestive gastrointestinal tract, which comprises the oesophagus, stomach and liver. It only releases the insulin when it reaches the small intestine, which is the ideal point for drug absorption because of the organ's massive 250m surface area and lack of pain receptors.  

Roughly eight percent of the UK's 4million diabetes patients suffer from Type 1.

While Type 2 diabetes is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, it is still unclear what triggers Type 1 as 85 per cent of people diagnosed have no family history of the condition. 

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