Breakthrough discovery made by University of British Columbia scientists by developing an oral insulin tablet which will work as replacement for daily insulin injections.
Research from Indian roots and currently involved in research at University of British Columbia Dr. Anubhav Pratap Singh’s team developed a different kind of tablet that isn’t made for swallowing, but instead mouth-dissolving which dissolves when placed between the gum and cheek.
This formulation makes use of buccal mucosa and delivers all the insulin to the liver without wasting or decomposing any insulin along the way, which was the biggest challenge in formulation of insulin tablet so far.
Most swallowed insulin tablets in development tend to release insulin slowly over two to four hours, while fast-release injected insulin can be fully released in 30-120 minutes.
Researchers have discovered that insulin from the latest version of their oral tablets is absorbed by rats in the same way that injected insulin is.
“These exciting results show that we are on the right track in developing an insulin formulation that will no longer need to be injected before every meal, improving the quality of life, as well as mental health of diabetics around the world.” says professor Dr. Anubhav Pratap-Singh, the principal investigator from the faculty of land and food systems.
The study is yet to go into human trials, and for this to happen Dr. Pratap-Singh says they will require more time, funding and collaborators. But beyond the clear potential benefits to diabetics, he says the tablet they are developing could also be more sustainable, cost-effective and accessible.
The estimates in 2019 showed that 77 million individuals had diabetes in India, which is expected to rise to over 134 million by 2045. Approximately 57% of these individuals remain undiagnosed.
Researcher's hope is to reduce the cost of insulin per dose since their oral alternative could be cheaper and easier to make. Transporting the tablets would be easier for diabetics, who currently have to think about keeping their doses cool.