Diabetes: Insulin Pills May Replace Shots

oramed.gifOramed Pharmaceuticals has successfully completed Phase 1B clinical trials of its oral insulin capsule. The Jerusalem-based company used healthy volunteers to find the optimal dosage and is now planning to commence Phase 2A trials in Israel to test safety and efficacy in Type II diabetes patients.

If approved, Oramed’s oral insulin capsule is sure to be a money-making hit. According to the jazzy Oramed website, there are over 200 million diabetics worldwide, most of whom would probably rather pop a pill then go through daily time-consuming injections. Moreover, the estimated total costs (direct and indirect) of diabetes in the U.S. in 2002 was $132 billion.

Aside from the fact that a pill is generally better than a needle, there are other reasons why diabetics might benefit from the oral insulin pill. According to Prof. Hanoch Bar-On of the team, “the route of the insulin from the swallowed capsule imitates nature in that it passes to the liver and then to the bloodstream. Injected insulin goes straight to the bloodstream.” Furthermore, the pill “will better control diabetes by ingesting the capsule at an earlier stage of one’s treatment”.

If it’s so important, why has it taken so long to develop a pill? Oramed explains: “Up until now, the idea of insulin pills or capsules was inconceivable due to the fact that insulin, which is a protein, breaks down in the digestive system. However, Oramed’s patented technology overcame the problem of digestion as well as permeability to the intestine. This has been a major hurdle that has inhibited the development of an orally ingestible insulin for decades.”

For more on this great invention check out the press release.

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One Response

  1. I also blogged about Oramed.

    Do you have any idea what the second quote means? The pill “will better control diabetes by ingesting the capsule at an earlier stage of one’s treatment”.

    This doesn’t make any sense, yet I’m sure the Professor was trying to communicate something important about this treatment option. If you have any insight, I’d appreciate it.

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