Diabetes, Heart and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.  Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Heart Diseases
 Article 337
    Published on July 16, 2018

New pill could mimic the effects of bariatric surgery

For the reversal of type 2 diabetes in an obese patient or in a patient with uncontrolled high blood sugar levels, healthcare professionals recommend gastric bypass surgery. This is a popular and effective procedure for the reversal of type 2 diabetes along with weight loss. Studies show a successful reversal of type 2 diabetes in 84 percent of the patients who had gastric bypass surgery. Benefits with gastric bypass surgery are.

But there are following risks associated with the bariatric surgery.

  • Excessive internal bleeding (or haemorrhaging, hemorrhaging).
  • Formation of blood clots.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Anesthesia side effects.
  • Infection, hernia, ulcers or even death in some cases.

Now, scientists have successfully developed a noninvasive procedure to reverse the type 2 diabetes. The new noninvasive procedure is as effective as gastric bypass surgery without causing any side effects such as diarrhea or constipation.

Scientists have engineered a pill, called "Luminal Coating of the Intestine" (LuCI), that mimic the effects of gastric bypass surgery. LuCI contains sucralfate compound, a FDA approved drug for the treatment of gastric ulcers. The substance causes no effects on the pancreas, brain, liver or on any other organs. They used a variety of techniques to convert LuCI paste to a powder form, a form which can be packaged into a pill.

Once a diabetic patient takes the LuCI pill before the food, the material temporarily sticks and forms as a coating in the small intestine (or small bowel), a part of the gastrointestinal tract for few hours and then melts without causing any harm or side effects. Scientists have done innovative modifications to the LuCI compound so that it is less dependant on the pH value of the stomach. This coating prevents food contact with the gut or proximal bowel lining causing about 47 percent reduction in the glucose entering into the bloodstream. The pill also prevents a spike in blood sugar levels following a meal. The pill causes weight loss and results in a significant improvement in HbA1c levels of a diabetic patient.

Researchers have tested the compound in rodents. They have given the LuCI pill to rat models before a meal. They observed a temporary coating in the small intestine, which is partially preventing nutrients absorption in the small intestine (or small bowel) area, triggering a lower glucose production. One hour after the meal, scientists observed about 47 percent reduction in the glucose levels in their bloodstream.

Researchers are investigating to the know the short and long-term effects of LuCI in diabetic and obese rodent models. They are also planning to find out whether their invented therapy can be used to deliver drugs directly to the gut.

Type 2 diabetes reversal with LuCI pill is safer and causes fewer complications. The LuCI pill can provide an option to bariatric surgery. This treatment can help the huge population. Now, the researchers are planning to conduct studies in humans.

Some experts say the LuCI pill may prevent ingestion of important nutrients such as calcium, iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 and may trigger low blood sugar levels or hypoglycemic condition. Researchers say the pill coats the intestine only for a few hours and a patient can take calcium or multivitamin supplements without taking LuCI pill.

Researchers say LuCI pill causes a dramatic improvement in the quality of life and reversal of type 2 diabetes condition. These benefits are independent of weight loss in an individual.

One day, humans can undergo obesity and type 2 diabetes treatment with a pill instead of an invasive surgery. Scientists say their work is a "surgery in a pill" and the new pill will be in the market in 5 to 10 years.

Luminal Coating of the Intestine LuCI pill may help an obese patient to reverse type 2 diabetes weight gain.

The co-senior study authors of the study were Ali Tavakkoli, associate professor of surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston and Professor Jeff Karp, a bioengineer and principal investigator, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston. The study findings were published June 11, 2018 in the journal Nature Materials. Title of the article was "Therapeutic luminal coating of the intestine." DOI : dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41563-018-0106-5

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