Scientists are Developing a Pill that Could Replace Insulin
Healthcare2U’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Rodriguez speaks with Doug Wagner about exciting strides being made in the development of a pill that could replace insulin for type 1 diabetes sufferers.
Wagner: Dr. John Rodriguez joins me next. If you’re a type 1 diabetic, you’ll want to listen to this. People may have the ability to take pills instead of using insulin shots to control their diabetes. It’s the WMT Morning Show with Doug Wagner on News Radio 600 WMT. On the Morning Show, it is 6:46. Welcome to your Tuesday, February 14th. Welcoming to the newsmaker line, a Texan has got to appreciate a little Stevie Ray Vaughn this early in the morning.
Dr. John Rodriguez joining me on the newsmaker line. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with us. I’ll introduce a little bit more about you and what you do, how you do with coming up. But I want my listeners to find out how important what you’re talking about is, as I was telling the story earlier, I’ve got a buddy I didn’t realize, a super athlete. He had type 1 diabetes all the way through. Even as a super athlete, as an adult, he had to have a transplant because of the effect type 1 diabetes had on his body, even though he was working hard to control it through insulin. What you’re going to tell us though is that type 1 diabetes may be able to be controlled in the future using pills instead of shots. How far in the future? Is this now, or not?
Dr. Rodriguez: Well, it’s just a little few more years far out, but the researchers at the University of British Columbia finally look like they’ve come up with a pill. Because, by the way, this has gone on for years. They studied the pill, and they can’t get it right. They think this time that they found a way to get the insulin into our systems that’s not going to break down and cause problems like the previous pills. So, the fact that they could put a pill between your cheek and gum and have it absorbed and have it almost a hundred percent absorbed, is amazing.
The applications are tremendous, right? So, you don’t have to carry around insulin in a refrigerator and constantly be giving yourself shots before or after a meal or bedtime, etc. I mean, it’s going to be a godsend to a lot of these young kids that have to do this- that’s a traumatic experience. So, it’s an awesome thing to see. We hope it’s going to come to fruition very soon, but it’s going to take time, just like any research product takes time. So, that’s coming.
Wagner: Dr. John Rodriguez is the Chief Medical Officer of Healthcare2U. Passionate about the care provided to you as patients, he manages all the care providers in Healthcare2U’s network of clinics. We were talking before we got on the air- you say that this may have application for type 2 diabetes down the line as well.
Dr. Rodriguez: Absolutely. Type 2, granted, it is a lifestyle, sadly enough. I mean, if we just get up, get off the couch, move, eat healthy, that’s going to fix our diabetes. But in the case that that can’t happen, and we have to inject with insulin, which is always a last resort, this is going to be much, much more palatable instead of a shot and carrying around insulin in a refrigerator. This is a way you can give yourself a pill before or after your meal to supplement that glucose load that you’re going to get. So, even in type 2, there are applications.
Wagner: It’s so interesting the way technology is allowing us to do things so much differently. And especially because I remember the first girl that I had a crush on was a type 1 diabetic. She’d be outside playing, and her mom would call her in for an insulin shot. Everybody else was having birthday cake, and she wasn’t. And I felt so badly for her.
But now with this insulin-mimicking molecule that can be developed in an oral pill, this can really allow for much more freedom.
Dr. Rodriguez: Absolutely. And then that’s the thing, I mean, we see our kids, and you love your kids, but to have a child with type 1 is just… It’s such a burden and a cross to carry. But this would make it a little easier when you can have that option.
Wagner: And it’s just amazing too, guys, because I was telling the story of the friend of mine from high school. He was a super athlete, a freak. The kid was five-nine, and he could get up way over the rim and dunk a basketball. He is still in super fit shape, but he had type 1 diabetes for all those years, and it just has started to ruin his kidneys. Is this something that is going to be able to help push back on that as well, the way that you have organ failure because of diabetes or not?
Dr. Rodriguez: Yeah, absolutely. And again, one of the cruxes of diabetes is the high sugar load, right? When you have high sugar loads in the bloodstream running around for months and years, it creates nerve damage and vascular damage to the body that creates your heart attacks and your strokes and your kidney failures, etc. So, that’s the nice thing about the pill. It’s going to help reduce that.
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