The Quest for an Insulin Pill That Delivers
Insulin and other injectable biologic drugs have transformed treatment for patients suffering from diabetes and other diseases. Many patients prefer therapies that are delivered orally, but existing insulin treatments are not readily absorbed into the bloodstream.
“If you’ve ever been prescribed a macromolecule drug like insulin or have ever taken a vaccine, you know there’s no pill for these medications,” says researcher Alex Abramson PhD ’19. “Delivery through the gastrointestinal tract is extremely difficult. And the quest for macromolecule delivery has been going on for about 100 years.”
In this webcast from February 2020, part of the MIT Alumni Association Faculty Forum Online series, Abramson describes technologies that may better enable the oral delivery of biologic drugs, and describes how mathematical modeling can have a profound impact on the design ideation of oral capsules.
Abramson is now a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University focused on developing ingestible and implantable devices for a variety of therapeutic applications. He received his PhD in chemical engineering at MIT studying under Institute professor Robert Langer ScD ’74. While at the the Langer Lab, he was part of a team that developed a coated pill containing microneedles capable of delivering medicine directly to the lining of the small intestine.