Health & Wellbeing

Gastric bypass "surgery in a pill" points to inspired new treatment for diabetes

Gastric bypass "surgery in a p...
An illustration of how the pill coats the intestine mimicking the effect of bariatric surgery
An illustration of how the pill coats the intestine mimicking the effect of bariatric surgery
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An illustration of how the pill coats the intestine mimicking the effect of bariatric surgery
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An illustration of how the pill coats the intestine mimicking the effect of bariatric surgery

While gastric-bypass, or bariatric, surgery can be a very successful weight-loss treatment option for those suffering from obesity, it has also been seen to be extraordinarily effective in reversing type 2 diabetes. An exciting new study from a team at Brigham and Women's Hospital has now demonstrated an oral agent that can potentially mimic the effects of bariatric surgery to reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes.

For some years, researchers have identified a connection between gastric-bypass surgery and the reversal of type 2 diabetes. The exact mechanism at play is still unclear, but it seems to operate independently of the weight loss that comes as a consequence of the procedure. One recent study comprising 20,000 patients found that gastric bypass surgery completely cured 84 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes.

The new research, at this stage only demonstrated in rats, involves an oral agent that can be swallowed and effectively coat the lining of the small intestine for a short period of time. In rat models it was found that this temporary intestinal barrier alters nutrient contact and lowers blood glucose response following a meal. In animal experiments after the oral agent was administered the average glucose response was reduced by 47 percent, and three hours later the effect disappeared, suggesting the temporary barrier had dissolved.

"What we've developed here is essentially, 'surgery in a pill,'" says Yuhan Lee, co-lead author on the study. "We've used a bioengineering approach to formulate a pill that has good adhesion properties and can attach nicely to the gut in a preclinical model. And after a couple of hours, its effects dissipate."

It is thought that gastric bypass surgery is effective in reversing type 2 diabetes as it improves glucose homeostasis by pushing digestion processes further into the intestine, which can fundamentally alter how the body absorbs nutrients. This new oral stomach-lining compound may effectively mimic this process without the need for major bariatric surgery.

Although the new substance has only been tested on rats so far, the researchers note that the primary compound used has already been approved by the FDA. The basis for the compound is called sucralfate, a drug already regularly used in humans to treat gastrointestinal ulcers.

As well as offering a potential breakthrough treatment for type 2 diabetes, the research could point to an entirely new drug delivery method that would allow for targeted delivery of substances to different points in the gastrointestinal tract.

The new research was published in the journal Nature Materials.

Source: Brigham and Women's Hospital via EurekAlert

8 comments
Martin Winlow
More drugs!!! FCOL, just stop stuffing your faces with c$%p!!!
jd_dunerider
There's already a cure for type 2 diabetes, it's called water fasting. Cures a bunch of other health issues as well!
Asgard
But will it help with weight loss until a desired weight is achieved?
voluntaryist
Skip the "quick fix" drugs with all the hidden side effects that create new problems.
Educate yourself on age-old self-administered diets and techniques to cure ailments, e.g., fasting, both water & fresh juice.
"Free" healthcare can cost you your health or life. No one cares more about you than you do. So why trust your life to others? Think about it.
anobium
I am an elderly T2 diabetic who is not overweight and am controlled by medication, diet and exercise. My medication was changed to repaglinide recently and when this stops working I will have to go onto insulin injections, so i am very pleased to read this report of new medication.
akarp
People have already said it; we, the human race, need to stop cramming as much sugars (yes becasue one type of sugar is not enough) into every "food product."
Wolf0579
The corporations are busy killing us and making money in the process, and your "representatives" will not stop it, because they are effectively on the corporations' payroll. Corporations are not people, not until one can be put in prison for wrongdoing. Corporations will continue bad behavior until using corporate funds for executive legal defense is prohibited.
Wombat56
anobium, This isn't a new drug but an old one possibly being used in a new way. If you're willing to take a chance you could talk to your doctor about prescribing it for you "off schedule", i.e. not for its original purpose (antiulcerant).
In Australia it's sold under trade names of Carafate and Ulcyte. It's not without some side effects.