Coming soon (but not soon enough!), pt.2: Fewer injections?

Continuing the theme of fewer needles = happier patients, MIT today described a possible way to deliver drugs in pill form that currently can only be injected. The problem, as the MIT press release describes, is that “many drugs, especially those made from large proteins, cannot be given as a pill because they get broken down in the stomach before they can be absorbed.” Thus, when you were hoping for a pill, you get punctured by a needle instead.

The MIT solution, we have to admit, is just this side of science fiction creepy: “a novel drug capsule coated with tiny needles that can inject drugs directly into the lining of the stomach after the capsule is swallowed.” That’s right, imagine swallowing something that acts like a tiny sea urchin.

Still, it beats needles. (And the pills are coated.)

At the moment, the pills have just started to be tested in pigs, using insulin. If full development goes forward, they are hoped to be “useful for delivering biopharmaceuticals such as antibodies, which are used to treat cancer and autoimmune disorders like arthritis and Crohn’s disease.”