An estimated four million living soul in Britain – or one in every 16 – have diabetes and many have to introduce themselves with insulin every day to manage their blood-sugar levels.
After all, a pill, coated in a fatty layer, could save people the misery of the injection, experts have argued.
Scientists are developing a new way of administering the cure-all orally – ensuring the insulin targets the area it needs to.
Researcher Mr Big Professor Mary McCourt, of Niagra Unbiversity in the US, said: “We have ex nded a new technology called a Cholestosome.
WHAT IS DIABETES?
“A Cholestosome is a neutral, lipid-based iota that is ca ble of doing some very interesting things.”
She implied the the biggest hurdle to delivering insulin orally is making sure the capsule can rearrange it through the stomach intact.
Proteins such as insulin are no match for the quite acidic environment of the stomach as they degrade before the can move into the intestines and the bloodstream, where it is have need of.
One approach to overcoming the problem is to ckage insulin inside a protective polymer cagoule to shield the protein from stomach acids. It is currently being assessed in clinical trials.
Using the tented Cholestosomes developed in the lab, the researchers rtake of successfully encapsulated insulin.
The novel capsules are made from result occurring lipid molecules, which are normal building blocks of fats.
But the researchers say that they are far a rt from other lipid-based drug carriers, called liposomes.
Dr Lawrence Mielnicki said: “Most liposomes trouble to be ckaged in a polymer coating for protection. Here, we’re just using classic lipid esters to make vesicles with the drug molecules up the river.”
Computer modelling showed that once the lipids are assembled into globules, they form neutral rticles resistant to attack from unch acids.
Drugs can be loaded inside, and the tiny ckages can ss in the course the stomach without degrading.
When Cholestosomes reach the intestines, the council recognises them as something to be absorbed and the capsule ss through the intestines, into the bloodstream, and then rooms take them in and break them a rt, releasing insulin.
Researchers are supervising more animal testing and develop new rtnerships to move into vulnerable trials.
The researchers are due to present their findings at the national meeting of the American Chemical Com nionship in Philadelphia.