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Scientists in Taiwan are reporting development of a nanoparticle drug delivery system that shows promise as a potential way to administer insulin and perhaps other protein-based drugs by mouth rather than injection or nasal sprays.
Hsing-Wen Sung and colleagues at the National Tsing Hua University, the Chinese Naval Academy and the National Health Research Institute point out that stomach acid destroys protein-based drugs, making them ineffective. That problem has led to broadly based efforts to find ways of encapsulating or otherwise protecting insulin from damage in the stomach so it could be given in a convenient oral form. Once the drug passes through the stomach, it can be absorbed in the small intestine.
In their new research, scheduled for the Jan. 8 issue of ACS' Biomacromolecules, a monthly journal, researchers describe loading insulin into nanospheres made from chitosan, a natural carbohydrate polymer material obtained commercially from shells of shrimp that is nontoxic and biocompatible. When given to diabetic laboratory rats, the insulin-loaded nanoparticles successfully reduced blood sugar levels in the animals.
JACS, founded in 1879, is the flagship journal of the American Chemical Society and the preeminent journal in the field. This periodical is devoted to the publication of research papers in all fields of chemistry and publishes approximately 17,000 pages of new chemistry a year. Published weekly, JACS provides research essential to the field of chemistry.
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Hsing-Wen Sung, Ph.D.
National Tsing Hua University
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