Give Now

A Moment of Science

Inhaling Plastic to Get Your Insulin

Inhaling insulin? Learn about different and painless way for diabetics to get their insulin on this Moment of Science.

There just might be some good news for diabetics who have to take insulin shots. A scientist is working on an alternative to injections of medications such as insulin. It comes in the form of microscopic plastic beads that you inhale.

The plastic particles are coated in a substance native to the lungs, which mostly fools the body into thinking the particles belong there. Therefore, a significant immune response isn’t triggered. When the particles reach their target cells, the coating and plastic dissolve slowly over time, releasing the medicine at a programmed pace.

The plastic itself is designed to be able to be excreted from the body. Of course, you can’t just put anything in the lungs. Because the individual chemical components that form the plastic material have all been FDA-approved for other medical uses, the scientists hope that the combination of chemicals will also prove to be safe.

You might be wondering why diabetics can’t take insulin in pill form, like most medications.

The danger of ingestion for some medications is that in passing through the stomach, digestive acids may disrupt their effectiveness. Inhalation through the lungs, however, is a quick and painless way to administer drugs. Asthmatics rely on this method of drug administration on a regular basis.

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from A Moment of Science:

Support for Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science

Search A Moment of Science