Researchers develop swallowable needle to inject insulin

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have created a system to deliver insulin that uses a needle so small patients can swallow it without feeling pain from an injection, NPR reports.

The researchers built a tiny device with a spring that ejects a tiny dart of solid insulin into the wall of the stomach, said researcher Carlo Giovanni Traverso, PhD.

"We chose the stomach as the site of delivery because we recognized that the stomach is a thick and robust part of the GI tract," Dr. Traverso said.

When the device gets into the stomach, the humidity there lets the spring launch the insulin dart.

The researchers have tested the device on pigs and found it can deliver a therapeutic dose of insulin if the pig has an empty stomach. They published their findings in Science.

They are now working with the global healthcare company Novo Nordisk to prepare the device for human testing.

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