What if there was a way for kiddo with type 1 diabetes to get the insulin that they need without the needle sticks? Oh, and we’re not talking about a pump here. Researchers from Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences may have found a way to deliver insulin orally.

What does an oral insulin delivery system mean? It means that your child with T1D could potentially take a pill, skipping the injections completely. The research, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is groundbreaking when it comes to potential advances in the way that diabetics regulate their blood glucose levels.

Photo: stevepb via Pixabay

If you’re wondering why no one has come up with a handy dandy little pill to replace the pens and pumps that diabetics have to deal with every day, the answer is pretty simple—it just isn’t that easy. The stomach’s acidic environment makes it almost impossible for insulin to get to the blood. Beyond that, it’s not easy for the intestine to absorb what does make it past the stomach.

How does the new proposed insulin pill overcome the intestinal odds? According to the research, an ionic liquid made from choline and geranic acid would carry the insulin. On top of that, the whole mix would be placed into a capsule that has an acid-resistant coating.

Not only does a pill mean that the diabetic would be able to give up injections or their pump, but it would be possible to store the formula for up to two months at room temperature. In other words, no more refrigerating insulin or tossing unused parts of pens after 30 days.

So when will this magic pill be available? Sadly, not anytime soon. The oral insulin delivery system is still yet to start human trials.

—Erica Loop

Featured Photo: stevepb via Pixabay

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