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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Insulin pill for diabetes

22nd June 2007

Researchers say that people with diabetes could soon be able to take a pill rather than inject themselves with insulin.


UK company Diabetology and researchers at Cardiff University have developed a pill which overcomes problems with oral ingestion of insulin. The pill has a covering which protects insulin from being destroyed by stomach acid and enables it to be absorbed by the small intestine.

Researchers, led by Dr Steve Luzio, will put forward the results of trial in 16 subjects to the American Diabetes Association. The presentation is believed to demonstrate that ingestion of insulin can make the required modifications in blood sugar in order to treat diabetes.

It is also expected to demonstrate that the oral ingestion of insulin, taken two times a day before meals, will effectively control insulin levels and have most effect for those patients with type 2 diabetes.

Researchers around the world are investigating how insulin could be taken orally. A project in Taiwan is examining how chemicals in shrimp could stop insulin destruction by stomach acid. An insulin inhalator is an option currently offered to diabetics who find injections difficult.

Dr Iain Frame, research manager at Diabetes UK, said that the research was still "in its early stages" and welcomed further research.

He said: "There are currently 700,000 people in the UK who take insulin injections, sometimes up to four times a day, so being able to take their insulin orally would have a great impact on their quality of life."

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