New study conducted by research team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital reported an oral agent that mimics the effects of bariatric surgery to reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes
Gastric-bypass or bariatric surgery is majorly used as weight-loss treatment for patients suffering from obesity. Previous studies conducted by researchers identified a connection between gastric-bypass surgery and the reversal of type 2 diabetes. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, it seems to operate independently of the weight loss that comes as a consequence of the procedure. Recent study highlighted that around 20,000 patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery observed reduction in type 2 diabetes of 84% patients.
The new study conducted in rats demonstrated an oral agent, which can be swallowed and effectively coat the lining of the small intestine for a short period of time. It was found that this intestinal barrier alters nutrient contact and lowers blood glucose response following a meal. As a result, an oral agent was found to reduce average glucose response by 47% in animal models. Furthermore, it was observed that temporary barrier had dissolved after three hours later.
“What we’ve developed here is essentially, surgery in a pill,’ said Yuhan Lee, co-lead author of 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.” The researchers explain that the primary compound used is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The basis for the compound is called sucralfate, a drug already regularly used in humans to treat gastrointestinal ulcers. Along with offering a potential breakthrough treatment for type 2 diabetes, the research aims to develop new drug delivery method for targeted delivery of substances to different points in the gastrointestinal tract. The study was published in the journal Nature Materials in June 2018.