US scientists recently developed a new oral method of taking insulin that could be a less painful way to millions of people all over the world with diabetes that have to inject themselves with this drug in order to manage their blood sugar levels.
The team of experts has successfully found insulin using Cholestosomes – a neutral, lipid-based particle – that can be taken orally with tiny vesicles that can also deliver insulin where it needs to be going without injecting.
The biggest obstacle to delivering insulin orally is ushering it through the stomach intact. Proteins such as insulin are no match for the harsh, highly acidic environment of the stomach. They degrade before they get a chance to move into the intestines and then the bloodstream where they’re needed, the study said.
However, the new vesicles that are made of naturally occurring lipid molecules are normal building blocks of fats, the researchers said, adding that they are unlike other lipid-based drug carriers, called liposomes.
“Most liposomes need to be packaged in a polymer coating for protection. Here, we are just using simple lipid esters to make vesicles with the drug molecules inside,” said lead researcher Mary McCourt, Professor at Niagara University in New York, US.
Computer modeling showed that once the lipids are assembled into spheres, they form neutral particles resistant to attack from stomach acids. Drugs can be loaded inside, and the tiny packages can pass through the stomach without degrading.
When cholestosomes reach the intestines, the body recognizes them as something to be absorbed. The vesicles pass through the intestines, into the bloodstream, and then cells take them in and break them apart, releasing insulin.