Anicet Mbida delivers to us every morning what is best in terms of innovation. This Monday, he is interested in an invention that could change the lives of people with diabetes. This is insulin that is taken in capsule form.
It’s World Diabetes Day. You have found an innovation that could change the life of all those who suffer from it. This is insulin that is taken in capsule form.
And that changes everything, because there would no longer be any need to inject yourself several times a day to inject yourself with this famous insulin. I don’t know if you know people who have diabetes mellitus (type 1 diabetes). But it’s a real ordeal. You have to inject yourself to control your glycemia (blood sugar level). Prick yourself again to lower it. It hurts. And there are plenty of activities that become inaccessible, simply because you won’t be able to inject yourself. Whereas with this insulin pill, all you have to do is find a glass of water, swallow it and you will regulate your blood sugar.
There was no oral treatment for diabetes?
No. However, the biggest laboratories have been working on it for more than 20 years. But each time, they come up against the same problem: the acidity of our stomach. It ends up destroying the insulin before it reaches the blood. Researchers at MIT in the United States had a very simple idea: protect insulin in a capsule that is perfectly resistant to stomach acids. But once arrived in the intestine, it will dissolve and reveal a mechanism which will plant micro-needles in the wall of the intestine, then inject the famous insulin.
But it must hurt if you poke in the gut?
Not exactly. That’s what’s smart. It turns out that the wall of the intestine has no nerve capable of conducting pain. So we will feel absolutely nothing. This is not me saying it. The system has been tested on a hundred patients. And none of them felt any pain, not even discomfort.
This is an essential advance in the treatment of diabetes. There is currently a chase between laboratories to be the first to offer an oral treatment. Certainly, it is true that in medicine, we are extremely careful about the safety of drugs. That’s why it takes so long to get to market (there isn’t always a global pandemic to speed things up). But this time, believe me, we’re really not very far away.