A new MIT-developed drug capsule will be able to replace insulin injections with a robotic capsule that will spin, pass through the small intestine’s mucus barrier, and deliver the drug components.
Medical professionals would have to inject protein drugs because they would be unable to pass through the digestive intestine’s mucus barrier.
Giovanni Traverso, a gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Development Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, stated, “by displacing the mucus, we can maximise the dispersion of the drug within a local area and enhance the absorption of both small molecules and macromolecules.”
When it comes to administering insulin and vancomycin, which must both be injected, this method has been found to be quite efficient. Protein drugs can’t be taken orally because they tend to break down in the acidic digestive tract and may even have trouble breaking through the mucus membrane.
Shriya Srinivasan, the study’s lead author, developed a protective capsule with a mechanism for drilling or boring holes through mucus like a hard surface.
She stated, “I thought that we could deposit the drug directly on the epithelium if we could tunnel through the mucus.”
She went on to say, “The concept is that you would ingest this capsule, and the outer layer would dissolve in the digestive tract, exposing all these features that start to churn through the mucus and clear it.”
The RoboCap capsule’s drug payload is stored in a small reservoir at one end, while the capsule’s main body and surface contain tunneling features.
The container is covered with gelatin and can break up at a particular pH, which will set off an engine inside the case to begin turning and infiltrate through the bodily fluid. The drug will be released into the digestive tract by spinning, and the small studs around the capsule will help remove some of the mucus.
Traverso says, “What the RoboCap does is temporarily displace the initial mucus barrier and then enhance absorption by maximising the drug’s dispersion locally.” By joining these components, we’re truly augmenting our ability to give what is going on to the medication to be assimilated.”
Researchers tested the drug in animals and found that the mucus layer was replaced hours after it was removed, and there was no evidence of inflammation or irritation in the digestive tract after the capsule passed through.
According to the Bright Side of News, researchers are hopeful that the capsule can be used to administer topical medications to treat ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory conditions by maximizing the local concentration of the medications in the tissue to treat the inflammation.