Hate needles? This ingestible pill painlessly injects drugs into your gut

Self-righting capsule orients itself in the gastric cavity and delivers biologic molecules to the tissue wall.

Enlarge / Self-righting
capsule orients itself in the gastric cavity and delivers biologic
molecules to the tissue wall. (credit: ScienceFelice
Frankel
)

If the sight of a doctor flicking a needle makes you cringe, you
may be better off going with your gut, according to a team of
researchers at MIT and Harvard.

The team is working to knock out the need for painful,
anxiety-inducing shots by having patients gulp a pill instead. But
not just any pill, but an autonomous one that can right itself in
your gut while packing a tiny, spring-loaded shot of drugs that it
then injects directly into the thick wall of your stomach. The
painless prick could deliver therapeutic payloads that normally
wouldn’t survive the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach. By
doing so, it would make life a lot easier for needle-fearing
patients and for those who depend on frequent drug injections, such
as people with diabetes who take daily insulin shots, the
researchers say.

In a report
in the February 8 issue of Science
, the researchers reveal a
prototype of their autonomous pill along with positive results from
tests in pig stomachs where they tried delivering insulin. While
the research is still in the very early stages, the data so far
hints that their self-righting pill—about the size of a
pea—could one day work in patients.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
Hate needles? This ingestible pill painlessly injects drugs into your gut