Insulin drug being tested to replace diabetes injections

Wed, 30 May 2012
A new drug being developed by pharma giant Novo Nordisk could provide a major breakthrough for diabetics in treating their condition.

The drug, which has already been trialled on rats, beagles and some human volunteers, would mean diabetespatients would not need to carry out multiple injections every day, but take insulin in the form of a tablet. A version of the treatment, called NN1953, has successfully undergone a round of clinical testing.

The company has spent more than USD2 billion in developing the insulin pill to get past the body's defense mechanisms and get insulin into the bloodstream, as any such pill has to be able to withstand acid attacks from digestion as well as pass through the gut wall to reach the liver.

Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, chief science officer at Novo Nordisk, said "The odds of making it were a million to one five years ago. Are we getting closer to a 50-50 scenario? Absolutely." The company started a new clinical study for the drug this month in Germany.

However, an insulin pill won't necessarily replace injections as it is more likely to be for people that can still produce some of their own insulin, but it would mean diabetics could get treated earlier as they wouldn't have to wait to be prescribed for injections.
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