A spiky pill might replace injections in the near future. The mPill or Microneedle Pill has spikes all over its surface for direct diffusion of drug into the blood stream once it is consumed. Researchers envision using this technology in medication like insulin along with replacement of other oral drugs since it allows for faster absorption than the current tablets.
Carl Schoellhammer and his team from the MIT have developed the Microneedle Pill. The Lemelson-MIT Program has bestowed $15,000 to the groundbreaking invention. The program has been dedicated to award funds to extraordinary student research projects.
Dynamics of the Microneedle Pill
The consumable tablet is about 2cm long and 1cm wide with 0.5cm long microneedles that are under coating which are revealed when the tab reaches gut. A patient swallows the tab once it is filled with the required medication. Upon reaching the digestive tract, drug is squeezed out hence, penetrating directly into the blood stream. After the delivery of the required medication, the pill would be excreted out without causing any adverse affects.
Gastrointestinal tract lacks pain receptors hence patients would hardly feel any discomfort from the drug injection.
Currently, the researchers are looking forward to apply this approach in delivering insulin, areas like pediatric growth hormone deficiency and in administering vaccines.
Administering injections from the inside
Schoellhammer said that the design is developed keeping in mind to deliver injections from within the body than the outside. Also the injections are painful and invasive, which can only be administered by trained personnel. However, his invention overrules the help of any super-vision.
In order to test the efficacy of the approach, researchers trailed it in pigs, where the drug was loaded with insulin. The capsule took more than week to pass through the gut harmlessly.
The drug is expected to hit the stores within the next 3-5 years. Not only this, Schoellhammer revealed his next invention called the Ultrasound Probe (uProbe). The approach makes use of ultrasound to propel medication into tissue in the gastrointestinal tract in a safe and effortless manner.
Now the question that comes to our mind is, which one is better, getting a shot, or swallowing a spiky pill? Since the second option convinces us to be without any pain then I guess many would prefer to go with that, what’s your choice?