When receiving needed medications, most people, if given a choice between taking it orally or by injection, would probably choose the less painful method and take a pill or capsule rather than get stuck with a needle.
However, people with type 1 diabetes who are dependent on insulin don’t have such a choice.
Every day most diabetic patients must get their needed dose or doses of the lifesaving hormone by injection because there is no way of taking insulin orally.
But that can soon change since researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new insulin delivery system that could someday allow patients to forgo the painful shots in favor of taking the medication orally.
The researchers say they have been able to overcome multiple physical obstacles that have prevented orally delivered insulin in the past, such as the stomach’s acidic environment and that insulin is poorly absorbed out of the intestine.
A study outlining the researcher’s findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.