There are plenty of people out there that have a strong aversion to needles. Though I’m not one of that group, I totally get not wanting a long piece of pointy metal being stuck into your arm or leg or wherever else doctors feel the need to stick them. A new pill might finally make needles a thing of the past.

What Kind Of Pill Are We Talking About, MIT?

The pill travels down to your stomach, making tears in your stomach lining so that the drug inside can be sent directly into your bloodstream. That may not comfort you as much as you were hoping, but the scientists in question want to administer it anyway. In a study being conducted between MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital, researchers have produced a spike-studded pill that actually is better at administering drugs than by using a standard vaccine.

In tests on pigs, the pill delivered insulin more quickly than with a standard injection according to information that was published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences

In addition to being better at the job, it also allows for pills to be used for drugs that couldn’t previously be administered via a pill because of the power of stomach acids breaking it down too quickly.

The pill itself isn’t small. It measures at about a centimeter in diameter and two centimeters long. It’s made of acrylic with hollow stainless steel needles about 5mm long sticking out of it. In short, it’s a horse pill. My first thought when reading this, and I’m sure yours as well was, ‘woah, needles going down my throat? No thanks!’

Fortunately, no, the MIT folks thought of that too. There is a special coating on the capsule that will only dissolve at a particular pH level, so it will make it to exactly where the doctors want it before it starts doing it’s work.

microneedles pill coating


I’m not sure if it’s more or less comforting but according to MIT scientists, swallowing small sharp objects doesn’t hurt anyway:

Previous studies of accidental ingestion of sharp objects in human patients have suggested that it could be safe to swallow a capsule coated with short needles. Because there are no pain receptors in the GI tract, patients would not feel any pain from the drug injection.

That said, the folks at MIT still not ready to release the pill because they want to make it 100% safe before it makes it to mass production. That is certainly solidly comforting, but I actually look forward to not needing injections anymore. Pills are just easier.

Source: CNET

About the author

Nick Schiwy

Nick is an tech enthusiast, programmer and general geek. He works full time in the IT field but still has plenty of time to keep up with all of the tech gossip that is going around!