Insulin inhaler to replace injections for diabetics

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Sydney, Jan 8 (UNI) Painful needle pricks would soon be history for those having diabetes, as they may soon be able to inhale their insulin.

University of New South Wales (UMSW) PhD student Roderick Sih and his supervisor Professor Neil Foster are developing technology to deliver insulin orally and hope it could go on the market within two years.

A global patent for ARISE insulin has been filed by New South Innovations, the commercial arm of the UNSW. Mr Sih said it could undergo clinical trials within six months,Sydney Morning Herald reported.

About 140,000 Australians have type 1 diabetes, which is managed with daily insulin injections. About 100,000 Australians who have type 2 diabetes are also insulin dependent, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation says.

Mr Sih said the ARISE insulin powder was engineered to resemble and behave like snowflakes.

It was better aerodynamically, and therefore more effective, than Pfizer's Exubera insulin, the first commercially available inhalable insulin, which was for sale in the US but withdrawn last year due to poor sales.

It is believed that was attributed to the bulky inhaler device and the high cost of the therapy. Mr Sih said laboratory testing using a respiratory system simulator indicated that pure ARISE insulin delivered with simple lipstick-sized devices was at least twice as effective as the Exubera system.

Diabetes Australia national president Dr Gary Deed said the research had the potential to revolutionise the way diabetes that required insulin was treated.

''It would give major relief to people currently relying on insulin injections,'' Dr Deed said.

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