Insulin pill for diabetics developed in Britain

UPDATED: 14:01, June 23, 2007

A British company has developed a form of insulin that can be taken orally, which will provide better control of symptoms of diabetes, the Times reported Friday.

Diabetology, a small research and development company, has got around the problem that insulin is a protein and the stomach is perfectly adapted to digest protein, breaking them up into smaller fragments, by enclosing the insulin in a capsule that resists stomach acids and passes the insulin into the small intestine.

The insulin dissolves in the small intestine, releasing a mixture of insulin and other materials that enhance the absorption of the insulin through the intestinal wall and then the insulin is transported to the liver, where it creates a store that can be drawn on by the body.

This more closely approximates the behavior of the pancreas, the source of insulin in healthy people, releasing insulin as it is needed.

The capsule form can also be much more easily administered to young children, who can struggle with needles and the more recent innovation of inhaled insulin.

These are the results from a small trial of 16 patients with type 2 diabetes - the commoner type that usually develops in middle age - carried out at Cardiff University by a team led by Professor David Owens, according to the report.

The oral dose taken twice daily before breakfast and before dinner, controlled glucose levels successfully in the patients treated, the team said.

Glen Travers, the executive chairman of Diabetology hoped the product would enable better control of the disease to be achieved, without the increased risk of heart attack that has been linked to the widely used diabetes drug Rosiglitazone.

Source: Xinhua

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