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Gel-like Material Shows Promise As Oral Insulin Pill For Diabetes

Date:
April 22, 2008
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Researchers report development of a gel-like material that could help speed the long-awaited arrival of insulin that can be taken in a pill by mouth, rather than with injections. They point out acid in the stomach destroys insulin, preventing its administration by mouth. Many different research groups worldwide are searching for ways to overcome that obstacle. However, an ideal material for safe, effective oral delivery remains elusive.

Researchers in Texas report development of a gel-like material that could help speed the long-awaited arrival of insulin that can be taken in a pill by mouth, rather than with injections.

In the report, Nicholas A. Peppas and colleagues point out acid in the stomach destroys insulin, preventing its administration by mouth. Many different research groups worldwide are searching for ways to overcome that obstacle. However, an ideal material for safe, effective oral delivery remains elusive.

The new study describes a promising candidate in the form of a polymer hydrogel that responds to changes in pH levels. This hydrogel has been modified by the addition of wheat germ agglutinin tethers, or anchors, that allow it to interact with the lining of the upper small intestine. In laboratory tests, the gel-like substance containing insulin expands in the acidic environment of the stomach and protects the drug from destruction by stomach acids.

Upon exposure to the alkaline environment of the small intestine, the site of insulin absorption, the polymer shrinks and releases insulin. The addition of wheat germ agglutinin, a type of sticky plant sugar, allows the polymer to stick to the small intestine for prolonged periods. This improves the duration of insulin absorption, the researchers say.

The article "Wheat Germ Agglutinin Functionalized Complexation Hydrogels for Oral Insulin Delivery" is scheduled for the April 14 issue of ACS' Biomacromolecules.



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The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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American Chemical Society. "Gel-like Material Shows Promise As Oral Insulin Pill For Diabetes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080421123008.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2008, April 22). Gel-like Material Shows Promise As Oral Insulin Pill For Diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080421123008.htm
American Chemical Society. "Gel-like Material Shows Promise As Oral Insulin Pill For Diabetes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080421123008.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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