Surgery in a Pill? A Possible New Diabetes Treatment

When it comes to diabetes treatments, most people immediately think of insulin injections. But suppose a simple pill could be used to curtail the impact of diabetes? Such a pill might one day be readily available.

A Different Kind of Operation

This revelation comes courtesy of researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA who claim that their potential breakthrough could have a similar impact on the body as gastric bypass surgery. Consequently, they refer to their new treatment as “surgery in a pill.”

At the heart of this treatment method is a substance known as LuCI, which is found along the lining of our intestinal tract. The Brigham and Women’s team has created a pill consisting of LuCI; when ingested into the bodies of rodents, this pill transforms into a paste, which in turn forms a coating along the intestinal tract. This coating serves as a protective insulation, preventing the improper absorption of nutrients. The LuCl pill can trace its roots back to the early 1980s, when the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of sucralfate to treat stomach ulcers. To create their new pill, the researchers slightly altered the composition of sucralfate, allowing it to attach itself to healthy intestinal tissues. As of August 2018, the researchers hoped to begin human trials in the following 12 to 18 months.

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