With a robotic capsule that can spin and tunnel through the mucus barrier of the small intestine and transport the medication components, a novel drug capsule created at MIT may be able to replace insulin injections.
Medical professionals would have to provide protein medications by injection because they cannot pass through the mucus barrier of the digesting tract.
At Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Development Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, Giovanni Traverso explained that “by displacing the mucus, we may maximise the dispersion of the medicine within a narrow area and optimise the absorption of both small molecules and macromolecules.”
Vancomycin and insulin both need to be injected, and this method of delivery has been found to be extremely effective. Protein medications cannot be taken orally since they tend to degrade in the digestive tract’s acidic environment and may even have trouble passing the mucus barrier.
Shriya Srinivasan, the study’s primary author, developed a protective capsule with a mechanism that can tunnel through mucus similarly to boring or drilling holes through a hard surface.
I believed that we could deposit the medication directly on the epithelium if we could tunnel through the mucus, she said.
The idea is that after swallowing this capsule, the outer layer will disintegrate in the digestive tract, revealing all of these properties that begin to churn through the mucus and clear it.