Oral capsules may phase out insulin injections

It will ensure sustained insulin release for 20 hrs in a lower dose

Oral capsules may phase out insulin injections

Indian scientists have come up with an oral capsule which is expected to replace the daily insulin jabs, bringing a big relief to diabetic patients.

Instead of injections, which ensure availability of the sugar-controlling protein for six to eight hours after a meal, the capsule will ensure sustained release of insulin for 20 hours in a lower dose. A team of young researchers at National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Mohali, has developed nano-particles of insulin, which will be available in the form of a powder. The powder can be filled inside a capsule for clinical use.

“Laboratory studies show our insulin reduces blood sugar level up to 86 per cent within four hours and up to 64 per cent reduction in blood glucose level is achieved for 24 hours. We filed a patent on the nano particles of insulin in December,” Sanyog Jain, a scientist at NIPER, said while presenting his research paper at the 101 session of Indian Science Congress here.

Scientists inserted insulin inside tiny lipid shells (nanoparticles) because without a protective armour, it will be destroyed in the gut when consumed orally. The NIPER team encapsulated the insulin within dietary lipids, which degrade naturally inside the body.

“We have shown the efficacy in rats, but have not carried out toxicity studies. We are in the lookout for a partner for further development,” Jain, one of the winners of Indian National Science Academy’s Young Scientist awards, told Deccan Herald.

Oral intake of insulin may significantly improve the quality of life of diabetic patients.
 While several strategies to deliver insulin orally have been proposed by scientists worldwide, there is not much clinical or commercial success so far. Protein encapsulation into nanoparticles is a promising alternative to administer insulin orally.

“It is an exciting area of research but there are questions on the safety of the delivery system. Sustained release is not always good as continuous supply of insulin can cause cancer. The nano-delivery method needs vigorous scientific validation,” commented Ram Vishwakarma, director of Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu – a drug research institution not linked to the NIPER study.

“Pharmaceutical major Pfizer and Indian biotechnology company Biocon, too, are trying to come out with an oral insulin. The first trial of Biocon failed while the Pfizer product is undergoing trial. There are several technical challenges in encapsulation and release of insulin,” said N K Ganguly, former director-general of Indian Council of Medical Research.

Jain explained that Biocon’s product was chemically modified to make it stable and cross the intestine barrier. It had to be used with a performance enhancer. The NIPER product was created following a different approach to make it superior than the Biocon product, he claimed.

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